Chatham County Health Department, North Carolina
Health equity work requires the cooperation of business, education, health care, community development, faith communities, community-based organizations, social services, and many other sectors — health departments cannot do this alone. Cross-sector partnerships that identify collaborative solutions to community health challenges and advance health equity are essential. The report Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System promotes partnerships between health departments, stakeholders, and other sectors. Specifically, the report recommends that health departments clearly delineate shared goals, respective responsibilities, and collaboration guidelines for decisionmaking, conflict resolution, and data sharing, and use this body of work as a foundation for sustainable collaborations.
The Equity for Moms and Babies Realized Across Chatham County (EMBRACe) Coalition was established in 2019 with the aim of ensuring that all pregnant women in Chatham County, NC, have positive birth outcomes. Coalition partners include the Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD), Chatham Hospital (a critical rural access hospital that is part of the University of North Carolina Health system), Piedmont Health Services (PHS, a federally qualified health center), Chatham County Department of Social Services, and Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE) (a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to deconstructing systemic inequities and achieving equitable outcomes for all people in Chatham County). The catalysts for cross-sector collaboration in pursuit of birth equity included:
When discussing the potential establishment of an accountable care community in the context of these local conditions, these partners recognized the opportunity to leverage their efforts and interests around a single, critical population health issue.
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