Given the growing recognition of how social determinants of health (SDOH) significantly influence health outcomes and healthcare use, policymakers and funders have examined various community-led approaches to address community health. However, SDOH approaches are hampered by a key set of challenges including funding streams being siloed and short-term in nature, individual organizations having competing priorities, data systems being disconnected, equity not being embedded in heath policy and practice, and the lack of authentic engagement of communities and stakeholders.
To address these challenges, Episcopal Health Foundation is launching a multi-year initiative to support existing collaboratives in our region to become high-functioning and sustainable entities known as Accountable Communities for Health (ACH).
ACHs are community-based partnerships formed across sectors such as healthcare, housing, social services, public health, employment training, and economic development, to focus on a shared vision and responsibility for the health of the community.
What are accountable communities for health?
Essentially, ACHs serve as a local platform for bringing stakeholders and community residents together to transform systems to improve community health and achieve greater equity on a sustainable basis rather than provide “one-time” interventions based solely around a health care delivery system.
The process by which communities embrace a multi-sector approach to population health varies by community. As a result, standing up ACHs requires genuine community leadership, intentionality, resources, technical assistance, and opportunities to learn from each other.
Episcopal Health Foundation launched the Texas Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (TACHI) in October, 2020. It’s an $8 million multi-year initiative to support the development of financial sustainable, multi-sector community health collaboratives in six Texas communities.
TACHI offers the six community collaboratives grant funding, technical assistance, and peer-learning opportunities around topics related to health equity, community engagement, governance, data infrastructure, strategy development, etc. The intiative aims to position collaboratives to advance community-led, financially sustainable social determinants of health strategies that improve health outcomes.