This group of articles provides diverse perspectives on partnerships for population health improvement. In considering them, the following recommendations emerge for research and practice:
- Invest in data systems that can better integrate the multiple sources of data affecting population health.
- Develop incentives for policy actions and leadership while blunting disincentives for participation.
- Adopt a network mindset to overcome the seemingly intractable barriers to achieving population health. This involves creating social value and having common goals.
- Create opportunities for cross-sector networking and collaboration to build relationships between and among leaders.
- Develop and advocate for sustained funding mechanisms as opposed to short-term grants.
- Establish metrics to inform and motivate cross-sectoral action — with emphasis on including partnerships with the business community.
Partnerships for population health improvement help us make better use of existing resources, and they expand the dialogue to businesses, faith-based organizations, education, commerce, public safety, housing, transportation, decision makers, and community members. However, in the context of this young discipline of population health, many questions on partnerships require further exploration. These include questions that relate to organizational partnerships, costs, leadership characteristics, and community dynamics.
Implementing the recommendations would likely have unintended consequences. Recognizing health in all policies could lead, for example, to increased competition for finite resources across sectors. However, potential benefits for community health justify both the risk and the effort.