Prevention and Health Systems

By changing the environments, policies, and institutions that most touch our lives — from our neighborhoods and workplaces to our childcare centers and schools — community prevention is a necessary component in the reduction and long-term elimination of inequities. Investing in community prevention ensures that all communities, especially historically underserved and under-resourced communities, can be healthy and safe, and can offer the resources and infrastructure needed for all to thrive. Improving health and safety overall is an essential element to long-term economic recovery. Community prevention saves money for struggling families and distressed communities and serves as a down payment on health-care reform by reducing both public (government) and private health care expenditures. Traditionally, health system efforts have focused on management of disease and prevention of costly outcomes. Transforming the health system requires redefining the system of health to prioritize improvements to underlying community determinants of equity, safety, and health that keep people from getting sick or injured; as well as to emphasize the inclusion of equity as a core outcome. The Convergence Partnership is committed to supporting investments and efforts that emphasize prevention and health system improvements that advance the community’s health and safety, especially for low-income communities and communities of color.

Impacts

The Convergence Partnership has successfully worked since 2009 to ensure that equity and community prevention are incorporated into federal prevention and health investments and practices. It has been able to effectively leverage philanthropy’s expertise, visibility, and voice to establish itself as a valued federal partner with growing influence. Increasingly, the synergies between the Partnership’s national presence and its extensive network of regional and local funders brings significant value to policy discussions and ensures that local experiences and successes, which are focused on community factors that impact health and equity, are more thoroughly reflected in the development of national strategies.

Convergence Partnership efforts have included the issuance of recommendations from the CEOs of partner institutions, calling for investments in prevention and best practices for the implementation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Additionally, the Partnership regularly shares the lessons learned and implications of successful efforts in communities and states with federal decision makers, effectively serving as a bridge between local action and federal policymaking. As a result, criteria, language, and principles recommended by the Convergence Partnership have been included in several federal funding opportunities, including the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation's 2013 State Innovations Model, and CDC-funded programs ranging from Community Prevention Grants and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) to the 2014 Partnerships to Improve Community Health and State and Local Public Health Actions grants.

More recently, the Partnership identified the need to apply its approach to national health reform efforts that seek to transform the health system to simultaneously enhance quality, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. Moving forward, the Partnership will play a strong role in highlighting and promulgating opportunities to advance specific prevention and health system best practices and innovations whose outcomes are more deliberately inclusive of achieving greater equity and prosperous, thriving communities. The Partnership will leverage its influence and that of its network in order to contribute to a narrative that places greater value on investments in prevention, equity, and the transformation of health systems to solidify the advances of the last several years.

Federal Efforts

The Convergence Partnership continues to leverage existing and explore emerging opportunities to strengthen community-based prevention and health system improvement initiatives to more effectively support healthy people and healthy places. Through targeted engagement with government leaders and stakeholders, far-reaching public statements, and practice-based webinars, the Partnership shares strategic guidance and success stories to expand community engagement, foster cross-sector collaboration, maintain a focus on policy and systems change, and bring equity to the forefront. The Partnership’s specific contributions emphasize the inclusion of equity as a core outcome; intensify efforts to redefine the system of health to prioritize improvements to underlying community determinants of equity, safety, and health that keep people from getting sick or injured; and strengthen the engagement of core, multisector stakeholders. The Partnership recognizes the significant role that philanthropy and health-care institutions can play in bolstering national momentum for equity-focused prevention and health system practices, and is  committed to leveraging its voice and influence to advance healthy people and healthy places through federal policy initiatives. For examples of our statements and recommendations go to Resources.

Local & State Efforts

Convergence efforts focus on identifying local and regional opportunities to foster strategic partnerships and cultivate connections across a myriad of prevention and health system stakeholders, as well as engage with the Convergence Network to create an echo chamber among philanthropy circles that translates into a more unified vision and message about the opportunities and practices to advance the Partnership’s vision through prevention and health system transformation.

Following the elimination of Community Transformation Grants for 2014, regional convergences engaged in supporting the Partnership’s recommendations to CDC on advancing community prevention. In response to CDC’s release of six new prevention and equity funding opportunity announcements, the Partnership co-sponsored a webinar with the Prevention Institute, American Public Health Association, PolicyLink, Public Health Institute, and Trust for America's Health to highlight the Convergence Partnership’s recommendations on maximizing these funding opportunities to advance prevention and equity.

Most recently, the Convergence Partnership has engaged the expertise of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a national policy group and think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship and addresses key challenges facing the nation. BPC is providing strategic support and hands-on guidance to a subset of regional convergences in order to broaden the base of support for community-based prevention and equity efforts, address barriers, and maximize opportunities. The Partnership, with regional partners and BPC, are currently planning two community prevention regional forums in Missouri and Massachusetts. which are expected to be held in the summer and fall of 2015.

Resources

Convergence Partnership Statement on Recommendations for Advancing Community Prevention, 2014

Following the release of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which allocated resources to several federal community initiatives, the Convergence Partnership released a public statement urging the adoption of core foundational principles of equity, community engagement, and prevention in the development of these initiatives. 

Prevention and Equity FirstA Public Statement from the Convergence Partnership, 2013
At a time of significant federal budget constraints, the Convergence Partnership released a statement affirming staunch commitment to community prevention as a critical component in achieving equitable health and safety outcomes, thriving communities, and a prosperous nation.

Recommendations for the Prevention and Public Health Fund: CEO Letter2010
Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the CEOs of Convergence Partnership’s members offered specific principles and recommendations to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to guide the newly established Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Leading National Foundations and Health-Care Organizations Make Unprecedented Call for Investment in Prevention: Public CEO Letter, 2009
Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Convergence Partnership released an unprecedented statement from the CEOs of member organizations to address the urgent need for prevention measures in health care reform.

See the Convergence Partnership library for additional resources.

Go to PolicyLink for a list of its resources; go to Prevention Institute for a list of its resources.