Collective Impact in Health – Webinar Questions Answered

In a recent FSG webinar discussion on collective impact in health Christy Reeves, director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Dr. Victoria Rogers, director of Let's Go! in Maine, and Karen Ordinans, executive director of the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin joined FSG’s John Kania to explore how collective impact initiatives are creating impact to increase health and well-being in their communities.

This is the first post in a 3-part blog series in which all four continue the discussion, answering questions submitted by webinar participants on how broad cross-sector coordination can be effective in addressing the continuing complexity of the health field. In this post, Karen and Tory discuss additional details about each of their initiatives.

Q: What recommendations would you make for defining a common vision or a “rallying cry” (e.g. 5210) for a more nebulous challenge (for example, mitigating toxic stress and trauma in early childhood across systems)?

Tory Rogers: I think the message needs to be simple, easy to understand, and cross ages and cultural lines. Often engaging the target population in the discussion about what the rally cry should be is a great idea. Then, of course, a good marketing person can help put the finishing touches on.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin’s partners (do they include the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families)? How did you choose your partners and engage them? How do you keep them engaged?

Karen Ordinans: The Alliance has many partners overall and that vary depending on the initiative. Partners are not necessarily chosen. Our goal is to work with anyone and everyone we can find that shares our same goal of improving the health and wellbeing of all children. Engagement of our partners varies. We continuously find ways to ask for input, complete a task, or seek ways we can support the partner in their work. For example there is representation from the University of WI- Madison School of Medicine and Public Health on our Advisory Board. In addition, we have a relationship with the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families. Specifically, our initiatives related to fetal, infant and child death review are closely connected to each of the local Lifecourse efforts. We currently receive a grant from the UW Partnership Program focused on collaboration between fetal, infant and child death reviews and the impact on reducing infant mortality. We have a strong relationship with local health departments statewide, primarily due to our work on asthma, oral health and child death review.

Q: Did Wisconsin use other strategies in addition to dental sealants to reduce dental decay? What role did prevention (e.g. Promoting the reduced consumption of sugary beverages or other sweets, promoting dental hygiene, etc.) play in your work and if it was smaller, what led to that strategy choice?

Karen Ordinans: As with all collective impact initiatives working to put in place mutually reinforcing activities, Wisconsin is using multiple strategies to combat dental disease. Wisconsin’s sealant program is one strategy contained in a statewide Oral Health Plan. Other strategies include fluoridation of all public water systems, Medicaid reimbursement policy, and supporting unique local community efforts based on the identified need, such as clinics for the uninsured or under-insured. Significant funding and effort has gone into the sealant program because of the solid research and evidence-based practice available. The sealant program also is able to collect data and report outcomes.

Q: What are some of the outcomes for the Let's Go! program?

Tory Rogers: Let's Go! has a robust evaluation plan. We evaluate each of our sites for environmental and policy changes on a yearly basis. We also use existing school surveillance data to track behavior change and statewide obesity and prevalence rates. In addition we are doing our own local obesity prevalence study. We have a full time data analyst working with us to track these outcomes.

About Karen Ordinans – Karen serves is executive director of Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, a statewide advocacy organization affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Karen leads efforts to build partnerships with public and private health systems, organizations and individuals to improve the health of Wisconsin children. The Alliance focuses on seven key initiatives: asthma, early literacy, emergency medical services for children, grief and bereavement, injury prevention and death review, lead poisoning and oral health.

About Tory Rogers – Tory is the Director of The Kids CO-OP at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center where she oversees the development, coordination, and promotion of community-oriented, pediatric healthcare initiatives. She is also Director of the Let’s Go! Program, which uses a multi-sector approach to reach youth and families where they live, learn, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

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