The Advisory Board Company, de Beaumont Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have launched the BUILD Health Challenge, which will identify and support health partnerships taking "Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven" approaches to improving health in low-income, urban communities.

"Unlike many population health initiatives, the BUILD Health Challenge requires awardees to take a multi-sector approach, including at least one hospital or health system, the local health department, and a nonprofit organization (or coalition of local non-profits) in an equal partnership," the sponsors said. "The program evolved out of a wealth of research demonstrating that up to 70 percent of an individual's health is determined by the interplay of physical, social, and economic environments, rather than healthcare and genetics."

The project will support up to 14 partnerships in multiple phases of development through differentiated planning and implementation grants. Project plans must be focused on low-income, urban neighborhoods, but the funds may be used to support a range of activities including investments in technology, staff expansion, advocacy, and more. The project will award up to $7.5 million in grants, low-interest loans, and program-related investments over two years. Examples include community-driven efforts addressing health-shaping factors that individuals can’t control—such as neighborhood safety or whether there’s a grocery store in the area, so residents have the opportunity to buy healthy food.

"Primary care, public health, and nonprofits—not to mention the private sector—have been operating in their own silos for too long, and the result has been decades of one-off projects, some of which are successful, and some of which are not," said Brian Castrucci, chief program and strategy officer at the de Beaumont Foundation. "This is a coordinated, collaborative effort to develop tested models for population health improvement that can be brought to scale. If BUILD succeeds, we will change the way that medicine, public health, and the community interact, leading to better outcomes."

More information on the challenge, including deadline dates, is available here.

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