Doing good
These 10 Innovative Partnerships Are Cultivating Healthier Communities and Workforces
Jaclyn Neuman | March 27, 2017

When it comes to tackling some of our nation’s most complex and costly health care challenges, the more unique perspectives, the more district skills and expertise, and the more collective time and resources you can bring to the table, the better.

That’s why strategic partnerships have proved so effective in this enormously important sector.

During its first Health Means Business Summit last month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation handed out the inaugural Healthy10 Awards honoring 10 outstanding cross-sector collaborations and innovative businesses working to create healthier communities across the nation.

“The private sector has the opportunity and ability to positively impact the health and well-being of their employees and their communities,” said Marc DeCourcey, the foundation’s senior vice president. “It is an honor to showcase these ten outstanding cross-sector partnerships and the work they’ve done to help build a culture of health in the United States.”

The Healthy10 Awards recognized partnerships in three categories related to community health and wellness, and awarded one top overall partnership honor. By showcasing these innovative initiatives, the foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center hopes to inspire the business community and other key stakeholders to engage the health and wellness movement that’s sweeping the nation. Here’s a look at this year’s 10 winners and how they are tackling major health care challenges.

Awards for Creating a Healthy Community

BD, Direct Relief, and the National Association of Community Health Centers formed a three-way partnership to help local community clinics deliver primary and preventative healthcare services related to the prevention and treatment of diabetes, cervical cancer, and HIV. The BD Helping Build Healthy Communities initiative was developed to assist the nearly 24 million Americans who live in medically underserved areas with limited access to healthcare. To date, this partnership has awarded 26 healthcare centers more than $2.6 million in funding through the Helping Build Health (or Healthy?) Communities initiative.

Health Care Service Corporation’s partnership with the American Lung Association of Upper Midwest is helping fight childhood asthma with their Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma initiative. Asthma affects 6.1 million kids nationwide, and poorly controlled asthma can impact a child’s academic performance. The partnership developed identifies clinics treating a large number of pediatric patients with asthma and provides a year-long training program focused on improving quality of care. In just three years, 36,000 health care professionals and parents of children with asthma were engaged through training and awareness efforts–reaching an estimated 350,000 children.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the American Lung Association joined forces to build LUNG FORCE, an initiative to fight—and ultimately defeat—lung cancer. Being that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S., LUNG FORCE has numerous strategic initiatives to aid individuals in need and help communities realize the health, environment, and economic benefits associated with reducing the incidence and risk of lung cancers. LUNG FORCE has engaged more than 100,000 consumers and nearly 1,500 local businesses across the country.

Awards for Creating Healthy Education and Workforce

The Memphis Business Group on Health, an employer-led action collaborative, plays a significant and vital role in promoting and supporting health in Memphis, Tennessee. The group developed a CEO Culture of Health Initiative to empower CEOs to become health champions, promoting health company policies, programs, benefits, and cultures. By driving health initiatives from the c-suite, the program is helping transform the well-being of Memphis’ communities. Today, there are 64 participating employers, representing approximately 70,000 employees and about 12 percent of Memphis’ county workforce. Participating employers have indicated that the greatest benefits they receive from creating cultures of health in their organizations are recruitment, retention, and productivity

GSK, The Food Trust, the Philadelphia Youth Network and local stakeholders together created “Get HYPE Philly!,” a collaborative initiative empowering youth to become leaders for health change through physical fitness, nutrition education, entrepreneurship, and civic involvement. A growing number of Philadelphia’s students live in poverty without access to healthy foods, recreational spaces, and employment opportunities. To date, nearly 20,000 youth have participated in healthy programming, including 347 activities designed and led by Get HYPE Philly’s young people.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Wellness Council of Indiana and organizations across sectors to form the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative. This initiative focuses on developing a strong built environment, getting more citizen engagement, adopting policies that support health and wellness at work and in the community, and cultivating strong leadership by local businesses. Indiana’s obesity rate is 31.1 percent and smoking rate is 22.9 percent. At these rates, Indiana employees on average miss 2.7 more days of work—resulting in a loss of over $8.46 million due to lost productivity per year. Active workplaces and communities are critical to the success of Indiana’s economy.  By working in communities across the state, the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative is helping businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and more come together and develop a shared vision for creating quality places for people to live, work, learn, and play.

Awards for Creating a Healthy Environment

DC Central Kitchen and Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States partnered to establish the Healthy Corners Program to bring healthy food into D.C.’s food desert areas. More than 200,000 of Washington DC’s residents live in food deserts, 35 percent of those residents live in poverty, and 42 percent receive nutrition assistance. The program works with convenience stores, schools, afterschool programs, summer camps and health care providers to become a sustainable healthy food distribution system. The program also promotes lasting behavior and attitude changes by empowering children and families with the resources they need to shop, cook and eat in healthier ways. The program has driven $69,000 in retail sales for corner stores and 96 percent of store owners report that it has increased the number of customers in their store, making it an initiative great for local business!

Duke Energy and The North Carolina Community Action Association developed the Duke Energy Helping Home Fund to improve the health, safety, and energy efficiency of low-income households. Poor air quality leads to chronic diseases that severely impact the health, well-being, and quality of life for low-income families. The Duke Energy Home Fund provides families with energy efficiency measures and upgrades like H-VAC systems, new refrigerators and appliance replacement of washers and dryers and room air conditioners. Families participating in the partnership are also educated on the value and benefit of energy efficiency and how it leads to a healthier indoor living environment. Since launching, this partnership has helped nearly 3,000 families have safer, healthier homes.

Together, the City of Minneapolis Health Department, food safety evaluators, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the local Somali community, created Minneapolis Somali-language Food Safety Coalition to help close service and equity gaps. Somali restaurateurs are vital to Minneapolis’ business community and vibrant restaurant scene; however, many business owners struggled to meet the compliance standards critical to food safety because of language barriers. By working together, policymakers gained a better sense of how to address cultural differences to communicate food safety issues with business owners and employees, as well as insights into Somali business operations that helped the Health Department develop new best practices.

Partnership of the Year

The Los Angeles Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program partnership is the first effort to formally leverage the complementary markets of a national corporate retailer Target and medical provider Eisner Health—to Wholesome Wave a food equity organization. This program, designed and led by, Wholesome Wave, is working to make healthy eating an affordable choice for low-income individuals and families in the Los Angeles area.

This partnership addresses the intertwined problems of obesity and food security; poor diet and reduced health; and poverty and lack of affordable healthy food options. By leveraging a multi-sector partnership with the power of a market-based incentive, Wholesome Wave has been able to improve community health as it relates to residents’ behavior and lifestyles, while demonstrating positive mutual benefits for medical providers, retailers, and suppliers of fresh local produce.