Over the course of 2021, Health Forward underwent a purpose alignment process that examined our opportunities to have the greatest impact possible on the health of our communities. Our new, five-year purpose plan recasts our leadership, advocacy, and resources to advance and promote health equity.
Every day we work to support and build inclusive, powerful, and healthy communities characterized by racial equity and economically just systems.
Our purpose alignment process was designed to identify the reason behind our work and to create a new guiding purpose plan. This year-long process involved significant learning, listening, and reflection. In the following document, you can read more about our journey of discovery, the data and feedback we gained from the community, and the outcomes that ultimately formed the foundation of our work moving forward.
Over the next 10 years, the changes we seek will result in:
- A high-quality and equitable community health ecosystem
- Strong community organizations and voices
- Equitable and just places that foster health and economic advancement
Communities of Focus
Our commitment to change will focus on working to improve the lives of people who experience the greatest injustices in health outcomes, including:
- People of color whose health outcomes are shaped by structural racism and other socioeconomic conditions
- People in rural areas where systemic barriers hinder optimal health
These communities often overlap with people of varied identities who experience economic insecurity, live in marginalized conditions, and find barriers to accessing high-quality care that is affordable, equitable, and trauma-informed.
Purpose Areas: People, Power, Place
The systems change we seek will not happen overnight. Nevertheless, we believe change is possible if we come together as a community to focus our efforts and strategically move toward our outcomes. To guide these efforts and to help our partners better understand our priorities, we will focus our work within three broad purpose areas: people, power, and place.
Our approach to fostering healthy people has evolved to integrate whole-person care – mental, physical, oral, and social – across the continuum of care, from prevention to treatment to recovery and advocacy. We will do this by undertaking the following strategies:
- Strengthen capacity and effectiveness of essential partners to provide whole-person care
- Advocate for policies that improve health
- Advance equity-centered innovation and infrastructure across the community health ecosystem
- Champion an inclusive and culturally responsive health sciences workforce
Community-based and grassroots groups, organizations, and leaders play a vital role in advancing equitable policies, practices, and resources focused on health equity. Too often, however, their access to power is challenged. Moreover, these organizations and leaders face persistent barriers to capital and growth. To eliminate these barriers and amplify community voices, Health Forward will strengthen organizational capacity, leadership, and civic engagement with the following strategies:
- Advance capacity building, leadership development, and connectedness
- Advance participation in democracy
- Enhance community-driven efforts to redistribute and share power
Health Forward will focus on building two essential community assets that contribute to creating healthy places: safe and affordable housing and digital access
Housing and digital access have an outsized effect on health equity, racial equity, and economic inclusion. Housing has a direct impact on childhood development, education, health, and wealth creation. Digital access opens doors to telehealth and job opportunities. As part of this plan, Health Forward will address these two major social influencers with the following strategies:
- Advance safe, healthy, and affordable housing and homeownership
- Advance digital access, literacy, and equity