Transitions and transformations…that is what health care is all about. We are moving from an individual perspective to a focus on the collective power of people living, learning, working, and healing together. The enormous potential of community and social support was the focus of our exciting 2012 Summit. On March 21 – 23, 2012, thought leaders came together in Charleston, SC, to address three contemporary and compelling questions:
- What impact do social supports have on the health of a community?
- How can these supports change a community’s social determinants of health?
- What are the implications of these changes for the prevention, treatment, and recovery of people with behavioral health problems?
Health is about far more than medical care. Education, income, housing, nutrition, and the neighborhoods in which we live influence individual health and welfare. Many people do not have the same opportunities to make healthy choices. Barriers are difficult to overcome and harnessing the societal pressure necessary to drive change remains an enormous challenge. Rather than staying focused only on reforming health care – which is essential – we must broaden our view and find ways to help all people lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.
At this ACMHA Summit we addressed how social supports – emotional, tangible, informational, and instrumental – enhance health in any community, be it a neighborhood, workplace, school, or virtual network. Post-Summit learnings, presenter slides, poster presentations, and links to further reading are all included below. Please make use of these resources as you continue to work to effect change and create healthy communities!
From the 4×5 Harvest
At the conclusion of the Summit, attendees were asked to recall one important learning or “aha” moment from the Summit. A list of 83 statements were “harvested” and reflect the breadth and depth of the Summit “community.”
Learnings about community engagement and characteristics were paramount. “We want to know that you care, before we care what you know;” “Start with the community and not the answer;” “Block professional input and wait until the community asks for it;” and, “Supports and system change happen differently in each community; listening, engaging, and using the strengths of the community will make the difference” are some of the many learnings gleaned.
Participants also noted insights to new health and behavioral health roles and responsibilities. “It is very difficult to create a community that takes into account diversity of perspective and the social determinates of health—but it is critical to do the work;” [We need to] “ facilitate community empowerment and wellness versus leading [a] sick/medical model” were noted by many. Also, “Humans and communities connect and relate. This is what it is to be human. Behavioral health services and systems are experts in convening people to connect and relate. It’s a natural.” In addition, attendees valued the exemplar community programs presented and recognized the many effective community building strategies in action and those evolving such as social media and technology.
Learnings of a more personal or individual nature were another result of the Summit experience. For example, “Each of us can impact the health of a community;” “Community health and wellness starts with my own health and wellness;, “Push past your fears to do what your heart knows and the world will change;” and “Root your professional service in your personal experience.”
Lastly, comments related to the Summit and ACMHA participants were rated as important learnings for participants. “ACMHA members want their work to be research-informed. They crave simple summaries of the research on which they can build” and “The tremendous talent and spirit of ACMHA members at this Summit to discuss and learn from each other respectively.”
Summit Presentation Slides
- So You Think You’re a Leader?
Sandy Forquer, PhD, and ACMHA Leadership Committee
- Setting the Summit Context
Gail Stuart, PhD, Summit Co-chair
- Using Social Determinants to Improve Community Health: Where do we go from here
King Davis, PhD
- How Social Supports Can Change the Health of a Community
Wilma Townsend, MSW
- The Children’s Resilience Initiative of Walla Walla: One Community’s Response to Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Annett’s Video
Mark Brown, EdD, and Teri Barila, MS
- Reach US Southeast African American Center of Excellence for Eliminating Disparities Related to Diabetes and Its Complications
Carolyn Jenkins, DrPH, Virginia Thomas, and Florene Linnen
- McShin: A Recovery Resource Foundation
- Senior Reach
Vicki K. Rodgers, MS, LPC
- Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community
King Davis, PhD
- Supports: An Abridged History of Peer, CPS, CSX Programs supporting Outcomes
Jennifer Padron, MEd, CPS, AMHP-CS; Laura Van Tosh; Peter Ashenden, Gitane Williams; Steve Harrington, JD; and Jennifer Magnabosco, PhD
- Using Peer Support Whole Health Coaches and Technology Solutions for Newly Insured Beneficiaries Under Health Reform
Allen Daniels and JJ Farook
- OptumHealth Peer Bridger Program, Pierce County, WA
- BasicNeeds: Empowering Individuals and Building Community Capacity
- Focus 24™ for the Foster Care System
- Resilience Trumps ACES – Walla Walla, WA
Mark Brown and Teri Barila
- Senior Reach
- REACH US SouthEastern African American Center of Excellence for Eliminating Disparities Related to Diabetes and its Complications
Carolyn Jenkins, DrPH
Readings and Additional Information
- Approaches to Measuring: Community Change Indicators. Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement
- Breaking Through on the Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: An approach to message translation. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America)
- A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Vulnerable Populations Portfolio)
- Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. (World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health)
- Social determinants of health inequalities. (Michael Marmot)
- Global Learning Device on Social Determinants of Health and Public Policy Formulation (World Health Organization) http://dds-dispositivoglobal.ops.org.ar/curso/cursoeng/contexto.html
- Introduction to The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell: “The Roseto Mystery.” (Available at www.amazon.com)
- The Community Guide’s Model for Linking the Social Environment to Health (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
- The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (www.abundantcommunity.com)
- “Leading Health Indicators About Your Health and Well-being,” a Behavioral Healthcare blogpost by Ron Manderscheid
- Practice Guidelines for Recovery and Resiliency Oriented Treatment (including a Domain of Community Connection and Mobilizaion) – Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and DisAbilities.
- The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality created the Health Care Innovations Exchange to speed the implementation of new and better ways of delivering health care. The Innovations Exchange offers health professionals and researchers a variety of opportunities to share, learn about, and ultimately adopt evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and populations.