What's the problem?
There is a critical need for improved collaboration between public health and clinical care.
Despite having multiple first class and highly ranked health care institutions and high quality public health organizations in our county, our residents are not getting healthier. This is because health is more than just health care. Health is the result of our surroundings, including the policies and systems responsible for creating those surroundings. Our larger health system in Cuyahoga County includes both health care institutions (clinical care) and three local health departments (public health). Historically, both locally and nationally, each part of the larger health system has worked separate from the other. While our health care and public health organizations provide excellent programs and services in each of their own fields, strengthening the partnership between these two groups will have an even greater impact on the health of our community.
*University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
Why does it matter?
Health is more than just health care.
Sustainable changes in population health and reductions in inequities in our community cannot and will not be realized without improved cooperation and collaboration between public health and clinical care organizations on policy development and health outcomes. The health and economic vitality of our community and our residents is at stake. Now is the time to act on the many opportunities that clinical care and public health have to work together because everyone in our county should have the opportunity to reach his or her fullest health potential.
What are we doing about it?
- Encouraging both systems to work together on shared goals
- Building public health and health equity training into the curriculum of health profession students
- Identifying opportunities for combined data collection to better represent community health needs
CareSource is supporting the coordination of clinical care and community health through home visits for asthma patients as part of a pilot asthma project targeting 50 families.
All three local public health departments, the major hospital systems, and the Center for Health Affairs in Cuyahoga County are actively working toward collaborative community health assessments and plans in the future.
Representatives from HIP-Cuyahoga are engaged in State of Ohio groups convened by the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation to align goals for state-level population health planning.
These efforts are being lead by our Linking Clinical & Public Health subcommittee under the guidance of the following anchor organizations and individuals:
Environmental Health Watch
Kim Foreman, Interim Executive Director
Environmental Health Watch has worked locally for 35 years to address environmental health with hospital and health department partners through nationally recognized research and direct service. A pioneer in the healthy homes movement, EHW has a strong grassroots network of residents and community stakeholders genuinely engaged in environmental health.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Heidi Gullett, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Population Health Liaison, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Co-chair, HIP-Cuyahoga Consortium
The School of Medicine serves as the second anchor organization based on its partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health which created the population health liaison position. This position, currently held by Heidi Gullett, MD, MPH, provides dedicated time toward further developing the partnership and shared initiatives between the two organizations. The School of Medicine’s most recent strategic plan makes community health a priority, further strengthening this formal partnership.