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How 'Accountable Communities for Health' Across the U.S. Can Foster Prevention

How 'Accountable Communities for Health' Across the U.S. Can Foster Prevention

In a new report commissioned by the state of Vermont, Prevention Institute (PI) deeply examines a transformational model of health that's gaining steam in the U.S. – one in which health care and community entities partner up and emphasize community prevention of illness and injury.

Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) are emerging as a promising framework. ACHs integrate medical care, mental and behavioral healthcare, and social services with actions to improve the community conditions that shape health in a geographical area. In its report, PI extensively studied the mechanics of the work being done on the ground that reflects ACH principles, both in Vermont and at sites across the country.

"We looked at how to marshal healthcare-community partnerships to support community prevention populations," says report co-author and PI Managing Director Leslie Mikkelsen. "We also looked at what states can do to support and enhance the efforts of their regions that are implementing ACH elements and how they can cultivate strong retention of community prevention in the process."

In Accountable Communities for Health: Opportunities and Recommendations, PI profiles five national sites – including one in San Diego – engaged in work aligned with ACH principles, as well as regional efforts across Vermont. The report offers recommendations for how to strengthen existing work (pages 19-25 of the report), and extensively details the core elements that, taken together, can realize the full potential of an ACH model (pages 10-18 of the report).

By exploring an ACH approach that highlights prevention and partnership, several key states are helping to lead the country toward a more effective and equitable system of health. It's clear that across the U.S., leaders in health care, public health, government, business, and other sectors recognize that conditions in the community environment have an enormous impact on health. PI sees tremendous opportunity to advance community prevention as a key part of health system transformation.

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