Inefficient Use of Community Resources Due to Siloing
In some communities, health is a forgotten element of many policies and programs. Pressing issues impacting law enforcement, economic development and education often take precedence, while health remains on the back burner. Nevertheless, good health is always essential for children to thrive and develop into a productive workforce that brings prosperity to the community. To change the status quo and build a foundational culture of health, community leaders in Fresno founded the Fresno County Health Improvement Partnership (FCHIP). FCHIP focuses on the county’s highest need communities in Southwest Fresno, where poverty is concentrated, pollution is prevalent and life expectancy is well below average.
Bring Together Disparate Organizations From Multiple Sectors to Address ACEs
One of the state’s youngest Accountable Communities for Health (ACHs), FCHIP has made great strides in building a broad coalition of more than 100 local groups representing nearly every sector, including local government, education, health care, housing, law enforcement, business, nonprofit and local health plans. They have also established a governance charter and founding steering committee, conducted a massive Community Health Needs Assessment and trained over 1,000 individuals on trauma-informed care.
Most recently, the Fresno County Network of Care cohort, led by FCHIP and Saint Agnes Medical Center, became one of seven counties in California to be awarded a $2.6M grant from the Department of Health Care Services and the Office of the California Surgeon General ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Aware Initiative. This Initiative brings together institutions to offer evidence-based supports that help prevent, treat and heal the harmful consequences of toxic stress. Participating community organizations include Comprehensive Youth Services of Fresno County, Exceptional Parents Unlimited, and UCSF Pediatric and Family Medicine.
ACH IN ACTION
Embracing an Equity Lens to Build a Culture of Health
Altogether, these community leaders and partners—by embracing an equity lens to address gaps and barriers that lead to racial inequities in health—have worked to accomplish their vision of a culture of health where every person has the opportunity and support they need to achieve a life of well-being. Core programs touch upon land use and planning, trauma and resilience, diabetes prevention and food security. Part of this transformation in thinking includes the adoption of “health in all policies,” where decision makers evaluate each policy’s potential impact on community health, regardless of the topic or its primary goal.
To address food insecurity, FCHIP created the Fresno Food Security Network to mobilize partner organizations committed to increasing healthy food access and consumption in Southwest Fresno and other high need areas. Through their partnership, new food security solutions have been implemented that boost food recovery, build organizational capacity, connect neighborhoods and improve data coordination—and communication—between groups. The Network also launched the Fresno Food Policy Council, a diverse group of stakeholders from all areas of the local food system working toward food justice and equity through policy and organizing.
Building Capacity & Advocating for Policy Change
In the long term, the ACH aims to make Fresno County one of the top ten healthiest places to live in California. This is being accomplished through a Portfolio of Interventions (POI) that includes promoting community-clinical linkages, aligning existing efforts of member organizations, leveraging resources from multiple sources and collaborating around prevention. A key element of this process is resident engagement to ensure that the ACH prioritizes community needs and customizes strategies for maximum impact.
FCHIP is further implementing its POI and developing its Wellness Fund to provide more sustainable funding for scaling an evidence-based program Community Health Worker Network model. These ambitious elements, combined with policy change, allow for measurable changes in the county’s health indicators, helping it earn a spot at the top of the state’s health rankings.
Learn more at www.fchip.org.
The California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) was established to spearhead efforts to modernize our health system and build a healthier California. To realize this vision, CACHI utilizes a model known as Accountable Communities for Health (ACH), where multiple sectors align goals and collaborate to address the leading health issues facing our communities.