Prevention Institute and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. have released a commentary discussing how wellness, safety, and equity are best achieved when multiple sectors align and use a portfolio of strategies. These synergistic interventions compound into true population health improvement for communities—creating a greater effect than with sectors’ individual efforts. California’s Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) Initiative advances this “portfolio” approach, which has been successful in taking on health issues as diverse as tobacco, driving while intoxicated, lead exposure, and violence over the last 50 years.
An ACH is an alliance of organizations that impact health in a given region; some organizations focus on individual treatment, others on community-wide change. At the core of the ACH approach is harnessing the collective efforts of health stakeholders including healthcare, public health, behavioral health, school districts, other governmental entities, and community- and faith-based organizations.
California’s ACH Initiative, recently announced in a request for proposals for ACH pilots, is a great opportunity to formalize partnerships between clinical, individually-focused services and community-wide policy and environmental change efforts. As the commentary notes:
“Health is the result of a complex interplay between multiple factors, and social determinants of health have a pivotal impact upon health outcomes. The portfolio approach acknowledges this complexity with a multi-faceted response that includes a focus on environmental, public policy, and systems changes. Focusing on one portfolio category alone is unlikely to create broad change at a population scale, or to achieve what some have termed adequate “dose.”