Bridging for Health IDs Local Innovations Across the Nation

The challenge is immense – creating healthier communities by addressing a broad range of drivers of health while ultimately producing cost savings.

The solutions can be transformative.

The good news – efforts, small and large, are underway around the nation. Take a look at some of them.

The seven sites participating in Bridging for Health: Improving Community Health Through Innovations in Financing, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, have been developing innovative mechanisms to fund initiatives targeting upstream drivers of health (like food and housing) that will ultimately improve population health outcomes.

As the national coordinating center for Bridging for Health, the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) has been surveying diverse efforts in these seven communities and beyond. GHPC has combined these learnings into a series on local health financing innovations.

“I admire the willingness of each of our seven sites’ leaders to bring a pioneering spirit to this work,” says Chris Parker, co-principal investigator of Bridging for Health. “By sharing this ongoing work, it can serve to possibly reinvigorate existing efforts or inspire others interested in bringing similar efforts to their communities.”

To be selected, innovations had to meet certain criteria. They had to address upstream drivers of health, not solely rely upon grants, involve multisector partners, and maintain a long-term focus, rather than fixing an immediate community need.

These innovations target a diverse array of needs, including increasing access to produce, outdoor recreational opportunities, housing for homeless and migrant workers, transportation for medical care, and early childhood education. Other innovations also involve expansion of nontraditional clinical care including developing CenteringPregnancy prenatal care, expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program, implementing postpartum and infant home visitation, and using community health workers.

These health improvement strategies are financed through innovations such as community investment funds created through blending and braiding of grants, philanthropic contributions, loans, operational funds, and health system savings; new market tax credits and wetland mitigation credits; as well as implementation of payment reform with shared savings.

Click here to read about local health financing innovations in