Convening Local Experts to Address the Social Determinants of Health

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A group of panelists discuss local health solutions.
Panelists at the CVS Health-sponsored POLITICO event discuss the benefit of local health solutions.

CVS Health recently brought together a group of health leaders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to explore how local solutions can have a big impact on residents who are grappling with environmental factors that impact health such as housing, education, transportation and food. The event was part of the POLITICO Health Care Innovators series, which CVS Health sponsors.

Following opening remarks from Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel at CVS Health, the expert panel discussed how the social determinants of health are fundamentally changing the way we think about health care delivery. Among the experts, there was consensus that we must put patients at the center of their care, utilize a combination of high-tech and high-touch solutions and realize the power of public-private partnerships.

Experts included:

  • Teresa Miller, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

  • Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania;

  • Katherine Kinsey, PhD, Director, Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership; and

  • Katie McPeak, MD, Medical Director of Health Equity, Primary Care Network, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

View a video of the full POLITICO Health Care Innovators panel discussion.

Putting Patients at the Center of their Care

Each patient has their own unique health care needs. Oftentimes, those needs are determined by where they live and work. According to Dr. McPeak, “It’s not as simple as screening for social stress among families. We have to create interventions in places where they are already getting care.”

Dr. McPeak further noted that we must understand the intricacies of each patient and be embedded in their community to fully be able to address the factors that are impacting their health. This is where CVS Health can make a difference. We serve as a front door to health care in nearly 10,000 communities nationwide and are utilizing our community footprint to expand access to high-quality health care services.

High-Tech to Enable High-Touch

To maximize the impact of high-tech solutions, such as mobile apps and connected tools, the panelists agreed that they must be matched with personal touchpoints to care. According to Dr. Kinsey, “We’re all very interested in high-tech today, but it is really the relationships that we establish with patients over time that help us address the social determinants of health. We want to be high-touch and use our high-tech tools to better connect with people.”

This type of integration between technology and patient engagement is key to the model of care CVS Health is leading. We’re using technology to support our efforts to provide real-time and trusted counseling on adherence and lifestyle management, increase communication between doctor visits and improve care connectivity.

The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

Partnering with organizations that are on the front lines of addressing the social determinants of health every day is key. According to Secretary Miller, “Health care is a piece of what determines our overall health, but it is just one piece. With our managed care organizations, we’re seeing a handful of really creative partnerships addressing the social determinants of health.” In turn, these partnerships improve outcomes and impact overall health care spending.

Secretary Miller highlighted the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) – an organization providing medically appropriate meals and nutrition counseling to those who are battling life-threatening illnesses – as one example of success. For example, data show that members receiving services from MANNA saw a 30 percent decrease in inpatient admission. Since 2016, we have been proud to support MANNA in its mission to improve access to healthy food.

The panel agreed that housing has the greatest impact on health and well-being and we must do more to support vulnerable patient populations. Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania recently contributed $4 million to the Inglis Methodist Gardens project to support the development of a four-story, 47-unit apartment building in West Philadelphia – serving a mixed population of long-term care recipients and people at risk for homelessness.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

A group of panelists discuss local health solutions.
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POLITICO Partnership Elevates Discussion on Social Determinants of Health

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Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel, recently spoke to 100 health care and policy influencers at a POLITICO Live event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about the importance of local and personalized solutions in addressing the social determinants of health. The event was part of the Health Care Innovators series, sponsored by CVS Health, which showcases leading voices and practices in health care innovation.

Watch the full remarks here.

Understanding Community Health Care Needs

Most of our health and well-being happens outside of the doctor’s office where we live, learn and work. Furthermore, data show that 60 percent of our life expectancy is determined by factors such as housing, transportation, education and food.

Moriarty noted that these factors underscore why we must understand and analyze how local environments impact health—and the importance of data in the U.S. News & World Report Healthiest Community Rankings. In Philadelphia, nearly one in five residents smoke and more than one-fourth are grappling with obesity. According to Moriarty, our communities are ripe for health care innovation and we have an opportunity to improve health outcomes by creating meaningful touchpoints to care.

Expanding Access to Care Locally

Access remains a key challenge in helping patients manage their conditions. According to Moriarty, community health care access can be defined by two tracks: the availability of primary care and the ability to get to where care is offered.

To demonstrate how CVS Health can address these tracks, Moriarty shared an example of “Diane,” a single mother of two who recently received a diabetes diagnosis. There could be a number of obstacles in her way. First, it may be hard for her to take time off during business hours for appointments. Next, she may face difficulties in getting the testing and labs she needs for diabetes. Research shows 40 percent of physician-ordered lab tests aren’t completed—oftentimes as a result of facilities not having extended hours and the patient lacking access to public transportation to that facility.

According to Moriarty, this is where CVS Health is making a difference. Today, 71 percent of Americans live within five miles of a CVS Pharmacy location. And people come to their pharmacy frequently: whereas a patient with diabetes like “Diane” might only see her physician four to five times a year, she will likely see her pharmacist as many as 18-24 times in the same year.

Moriarty highlighted how we’re utilizing our community footprint to provide timely and targeted interactions with patients like “Diane.” For example:

  • Our MinuteClinic offering is complementary and collaborative to primary care—and helpful to the system overall. We offer treatment for 125 conditions from trusted providers. Furthermore, our extended hours and broad community reach can help address gaps in care.

  • To build on our MinuteClinic services and improve care coordination, we recently piloted HealthHUB—a new, first-of-its-kind concept offering new product categories, digital and on-demand health tools and trusted advice. This concept will be brought to the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey market in the coming months.

Improving Health Care Affordability

Along with access to care, affordability is a top health care priority for patients. Moriarty emphasized how CVS Health is doing more to help ensure patients get the medications and care they need at the best possible cost.

For example, data show that 40 percent of patients do not pick up their prescriptions when out-of-pocket costs per prescription exceed $200. Moriarty noted that if patients are unable to afford their medications, they get sicker and their care becomes even more expensive. CVS Health has developed solutions to change that.

  • Through our real-time benefits program, we’re providing tools to doctors so they can see what a medicine is going to cost, and recommend lower cost, clinically appropriate options to the patient. More than 100,000 prescribers are using this program—leading to an average of $90 savings per prescription.

  • We’ve also pioneered digital tools, including the Rx Savings Finder, which help our retail pharmacists find patients savings when they do reach the pharmacy counter.

We look forward to continuing to address the social determinants of health in the communities we serve.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

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Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, PA

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Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Following the release of the second annual U.S. News & World Report 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings, the Aetna Foundation convened a roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with state officials, community organizations and local providers to promote a dialogue about addressing social determinants of health to improve the health of communities across the Keystone state.

Aetna Foundation and U.S. News & World Report host Social Determinants of Health Roundtable in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller joined the event as the keynote speaker.

“A person’s health is more than just what happens inside of a doctor’s office. Their job, education level, access to food, and their housing situation all affect their health,” said Secretary Miller. “Our goal is to empower Pennsylvanians to live fulfilling lives and build stronger communities. Understanding the whole person and the individual circumstances they face is critical as we work to ensure that services provided are putting the people we serve on a path to improved long-term outcomes like better health, success in employment or education and training, or self-sufficiency.”

The Healthiest Communities rankings, underwritten by the Aetna Foundation, are part of a $100 million commitment by CVS Health and its affiliates to making community health and wellness central to the company’s charge for a better world. The new Building Healthier Communities initiative, which will be funded over five years by CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna foundations, builds upon the outstanding tradition of community investment by CVS Health and Aetna and advances CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.

The roundtable event specifically highlighted food access and nutrition, which is a critical issue facing both urban and rural residents, across the state of Pennsylvania.

Around 115 people attended the roundtable, which, in addition to Secretary Miller, featured U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Editor Brian Kelly; U.S. News & World Report Executive Editor Tim Smart; U.S. News & World Report Reporter Gaby Galvin; State Rep. Joanna McClinton; The Food Trust President and CEO Yael Lehmann; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank CEO Joe Arthur; and Welsh Mountain Health Centers Chief Quality Officer Kate Millay.

“We have a significant opportunity to improve the physical and economic health of the country by changing our priorities and focusing on how we address social determinants of health,” said Patti MacRae, Executive Director, Aetna Foundation. “Thank you to everyone who took the time and joined us for this important conversation. We are building healthier communities, one community at a time, and these types of dialogues are truly critical to our work.”

The roundtable is part of a multi-year Healthiest Communities collaboration between U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation. In addition to being the state capital, Harrisburg is the county seat of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, which did not rank is this year’s Healthiest Communities rankings. However, 7 counties in Pennsylvania were part of this year’s top 500 Healthiest Communities List: Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Cumberland, Butler, Montour, and Elk.

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A Creative Collaboration; The United Way and Aetna Launch Venture Fund

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The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, in collaboration with Aetna, held the first-ever Venture Fund competition. The “Shark Tank” style pitch event was held in Boston on May 22, 2019, with a focus on seeding new, innovative and collaborative solutions to further the finalist organization’s social missions.

An expert panel of judges and the broader community selected four winners out of eight finalists – who will be awarded up to $75,000 to implement their initiatives with a one-year grant. This progressive community impact program selected the winners after they pitched their ideas live on issues including family homelessness, school readiness and the need for skilled workers. The winners chosen were: Urban College of Boston, FamilyAid Boston, Lawrence CommunityWorks and Our Neighbors Table.

This collaboration is designed to approach a significant problem in a new way. Communities that have access to housing, jobs and career support have healthier residents because consumer health is affected by more than access to healthcare. This is why Aetna is working hard to bring additional resources into the community which will improve health ambitions. This Venture Fund competition supports the holistic long-term vision of achieving lasting change.

“Health starts in the community, and the most innovative solutions to help improve community health are often developed by individuals and organizations that experience these issues firsthand on a daily basis,” said Leila Nowroozi, Aetna Business Strategy. “We are committed to supporting community-based groups that address social determinants of health. The grants from the United Way Venture Fund will give these organizations additional resources to make greater impact and generate data so that we can all learn from their best practices.”

Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way said “we know that together, we can do more than any one organization can do alone.” Additionally, they were “looking for partnerships and collaborations among existing organizations that are shovel ready and focused on creating financial opportunity and ensuring educational success for people in need in our region.”

Visit the website of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley for more information on the winners and the rest of the finalists.

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Aetna Is Helping Lead the Way on the Evolution of Precision Medicine

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There are many reasons people get sick — from the quality of their health care to environmental factors and behavioral patterns like diet or smoking. Genetic factors — including those aspects of our individual physical makeup that can offer clues to the kinds of diseases for which we are susceptible —also impact our health.

And with the number of genetic tests increasing to more than 50,000 in the last five years, “precision medicine” or “personalized medicine” can play a part in helping to screen for, diagnose, prevent, treat and even cure disease. By tapping into a deeper understanding of a person’s genetics, precision medicine has the potential to unlock opportunities for prevention as well as more focused and effective treatments.

“As our understanding of genomics continues to grow, we are seeing the development of a new generation of genetic testing and targeted treatments,” said Joanne Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H., senior medical director at Aetna. “Although we have a long way to go to replace the current ‘one size fits all’ medical model with individualized genetics diagnostics and hyper-specific treatments, the evolution of this field is exciting.”

Aetna, a CVS Health company, has helped lead the way in that evolution, developing the first comprehensive program for breast and ovarian cancer testing using the BRCA gene test. Aetna also was the first health plan to create and implement a genetic information privacy policy and the first to develop telephone genetic counseling services.

“Aetna has been at the forefront of personalized medicine for more than two decades,” said Heather Shappell, precision medicine program manager, Aetna. “We’ve driven many firsts in this field. High standards and a focus on member safety and health are the foundation of what we do.”

Armstrong noted that as genetic testing and precision medicine become more common, the health care industry must take steps to ensure the quality of results so that patients can get the care they need.

Toward that end, Aetna became the first health plan to require quality credentialing of participating genetic testing labs. The company continues to lead on this front, requiring genetics laboratories with which they contract to enter test results into a public domain database called ClinVar. This database compiles information about human genomic variations in order to advance our scientific understanding of the relationship of genes to overall health.

This type of validation is particularly important in precision medicine. For example, while a lab may determine that a patient has a specific gene variation, the mere presence of that variation isn’t necessarily linked to the presence of a particular disease. Sharing the anonymous patient data among clinicians from around the world allows researchers to discover patterns and possible connections between genomic variations and specific diseases.

“Genetics is an evolving field where many unanswered, critical questions still exist,” Armstrong noted. “For example, as the science of personalized medicine matures, new challenges are emerging. New gene therapies recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration have the potential to cure genetic-based diseases, many of which are lethal. The staggering costs, however, strain the ability of our health care system to provide access to these therapies.”

Precision medicine is poised to expand beyond single disease and gene tests like BRCA and into processes that map out a person’s entire genome, providing clues to help predict future disease. As this type of personalized medicine becomes a more prevalent part of how patients are diagnosed and treated, Aetna is utilizing its long history of leadership in the field to help ensure that members receive the right treatments in the right place at the right time.

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Aetna Better Health of Florida Supports Food Pantry Conference

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For millions of Americans, hunger is a constant reminder of food insecurity and the challenges they face from it on a daily basis. To win the war on hunger, food banks and their partners understand that one way to solve it is to ease the stigma associated with food assistance programs.

To fight back against this stigma, Aetna Better Health® of Florida (ABHFL), a Medicaid Managed Care Plan, in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, recently sponsored their annual Partnership Networking Conference in the city of Orlando with a $10,000 donation. The conference brought together over 300 partner agencies and local organizations whose main mission is to distribute healthy foods to needy families in Central Florida. These agencies distribute food at the neighborhood level and partnering with them is a great way to meet Medicaid members where they are. ABHFL was the first Medicaid health plan ever invited to attend this annual conference.

During the conference, there were several speakers addressing the issue of food insecurity and community outreach, including RJ Briscione, senior director, Aetna Medicaid Business Development. RJ discussed Aetna’s work on social determinants of health and food insecurity at the local level, including how the health plan serves Medicaid members in Central Florida.

According to RJ, “With the help of dedicated partners like Second Harvest, Aetna Better Health aims to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues related to food insecurity, and to develop effective strategies to combat hunger and the health effects that come with it.”

“The conference also provided the health plan a unique opportunity to network with food pantry providers and distribute ABHFL promotional items,” said Carl Lee, ABHFL manager of Community Development and Outreach. “We were able to hand out ABHFL branded posters for attendees to display at their agency locations. Participants praised our presence at the conference and complemented us for being good stewards to the community.”

About Aetna Better Health of Florida

Aetna Better Health of Florida uses an integrated physical and behavioral health approach to the administration of benefits for the Medicaid Managed Care, Florida Healthy Kids, and Managed Long Term Services and Supports populations. The health plan works with members and their families, caregivers, providers, advocates, peer and family organizations and community groups to help them achieve better health outcomes.

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From California to Connecticut, Investing in Health at the Local Level

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In Davidson, North Carolina, chronically ill community members will have increased access to essential services. In West Chester, Pennsylvania, more of the local uninsured population will be able to participate in a non-opioid pain management program.

Those city’s free health clinics, along with nearly 130 others from California to Connecticut, will be better able to meet their community’s health needs thanks to nearly $3 million in grants from CVS Health and its Foundation to the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) and their members.

The grants furthers Aetna and CVS Health’s commitment to building healthier communities by investing in health at the local level, as these clinics will help better manage chronic disease, provide more wraparound services to address the social determinants of health, support treatment and prevention of substance abuse, including opioids and tobacco, and more.

Ranging from $10,000 – 20,000 each, the grants will be distributed to Free & Charitable Clinics in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

“Taking on these root causes of poor health will help us create lasting change towards health equity in America,” – Nicole Lamoureux, President & CEO of the NAFC.

The new funds bring the company and the CVS Health Foundation’s total contribution to NAFC to nearly $8 million since 2015.

Supporting Aetna and CVS Health’s combined goals of improving outcomes and lowering costs, more than 17,000 patients across the country had access to needed health care in 2018 as a result of last year’s NAFC grants funding. Two grantees alone saved their local hospitals $9.7 million by providing primary care to patients who would otherwise rely on the emergency room.

For more information on how the Free and Charitable Clinics will be utilizing their grants to improve community health, visit www.cvshealth.com/NAFC.

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Destination Health: Improving Health Outside a Clinical Setting

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Approximately 60 percent of a person’s life expectancy is influenced by their everyday activities outside of the doctor’s office – our individual behaviors, as well as social and environmental factors.

To address these issues and help people improve their health outside of a clinical setting, CVS Health launched the first in a series of business programs for Destination Health, a new platform with an enhanced focus on addressing social determinants of health.

“Out of about 6,000 waking hours in a year, most people only spend a handful in a doctor’s office or hospital – you spend the vast majority of your time in your community,” said Karen S. Lynch, President, Aetna and Executive Vice President, CVS Health.

“CVS Health is a part of nearly 10,000 communities across the country, so by going beyond our significant philanthropic efforts and addressing social determinants of health through the products and programs our company develops, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of individuals and communities across America.”

The first components of Destination Health include:

In the past seven months, CVS Health and Aetna have closed on commitments to invest $40.5 million in affordable housing that will help construct or rehabilitate more than 1,600 affordable housing units in 19 communities in six states.

“It’s hard to focus on your health when you are worried about your housing situation. Research has shown that providing safe and secure housing options can help improve health outcomes, particularly for individuals with chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Garth Graham, Vice President, Community Health & Impact, CVS Health and President, Aetna Foundation.

  • A collaboration with Unite US – A leading social care coordination platform, Unite US will help some of Aetna’s most vulnerable Medicaid and dual-eligible (Medicaid and Medicare) members more easily access social services within their community. The two companies are also exploring integration through various CVS Health retail assets.

    During the second half of the year, these programs and services will be available to Aetna Medicaid members in Louisville and to Aetna’s Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan members in Tampa, Florida and Southeastern Louisiana.

  • Helping employers identify and address social determinants of health – A new analytics tool developed by Aetna will help employers understand how social determinants of health are affecting their employee population. It also will help guide CVS Health across all lines of business to determine how the organization can most effectively deploy the right interventions to the plan sponsors and individuals that are most likely to benefit.

    These interventions could include plan sponsor activities like plan design changes, provider network adjustments and refinements to clinical outreach.

  • Impact investments; how housing can help improve health – With a focus on addressing housing insecurity in key markets, CVS Health is making significant investments, totaling more than $50 million by the end of this year, in affordable housing across the country to help provide support for underserved and at-risk populations.

The Destination Health platform also includes the investments being made at the community level as part of the recently announced Building Healthier Communities initiative, which is a $100 million commitment being funded over five years by CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations intended to make community health and wellness central to the company’s corporate social responsibility platform: Better Health, Better Community, Better World.

Read the press release announcing the Destination Health platform.

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Aetna Foundation’s ‘Spotlight Award’: 10 programs improving community health

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Ten U.S. community health programs participating in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge received the Aetna Foundation’s “Spotlight Award.” The awardees will receive a $25,000 prize to further support their programs, which will help build sustainable models that can be used in other communities.

“Where a person lives has a profound impact on how they live – particularly when it comes to their health,” said Mark T. Bertolini, the chairman of the Aetna Foundation and chairman and CEO of Aetna. “The Spotlight Award recipients are outstanding examples of how important progress can be made when communities work together to look at the biggest issues facing their neighborhoods and develop healthy, home-grown solutions.”

The Spotlight Awards highlight the early success stories from participants that have demonstrated significant progress since the launch of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge.

“Communities invest heavily in local residents’ health and well-being, often serving as a safety net for low-income and vulnerable residents,” said Roy Charles Brooks, president of the National Association of Counties. “We know just as each community is unique, so too are the health challenges they face. These award winners are examples of what can be achieved when counties work with community partners to solve serious, complex public health issues.”

In addition, five community health programs were recognized as Honorable Mention awardees and will receive a $10,000 prize to advance their work. The programs are a part of the Healthy50 — the 50 finalists in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, which will award $1.5 million in prizes to cities and counties that show measurable improvements in health outcomes over the course of several years through cross-sector partnerships.

“Since the Challenge launched, we have seen numerous improvements and advancements in the health of the 50 participating communities,” said Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The Spotlight Awards are a moment to showcase the innovative work being done in cities and counties to address social determinants of health.”

Spotlight Award winners

Bridgeport Coalition United to Reach Equity — Connecticut

Bridgeport Coalition United to Reach Equity, a project designed to help residents of Bridgeport address the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in their community.

The East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone’s Pop-up Market leveraged its strategic community partnerships and made a concerted effort to include residents in the entire community engagement process. The process included job creation, types of job training programs and identifying small businesses for development training to improve access to healthy, affordable food in the East End community.

iGrow Food Network — Florida

Tallahassee Leon County is working to address pockets of food source inequality in Tallahassee and Leon County.

The iGrow Food Network is a culturally-competent youth empowerment and urban agriculture entrepreneurship program of the Tallahassee Food Network that leverages community partnerships to focus on education, outreach and community engagement to achieve food security in USDA-designated food deserts by increasing healthy food access.

Live Healthy Little Havana — Florida

Live Healthy Little Havana’s goal is to strengthen community capacity to collaboratively plan and collectively carryout strategies to improve health. Residents are addressing physical activity, primary care and improving the community’s walk score.

West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative — Kentucky

West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative Louisville Metro Government intends to build culture residents connect to nature to improve physical and mental health by increasing physical activity and reducing toxic stress, as well as increasing social cohesion to deter crime.

The West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative created multiple annual paths through its parks department and community partners. The paths allow youth ages 3 to 19 to engage with nature.

The SMART Initiative — New Jersey

The SMART Initiative will reduce the number of sewer overflows to improve water quality in waterways and green infrastructure with a robust focus on community input and guidance.

The Initiative reengages diverse residents through innovative community meetings, forums, large scale events and mobile applications to educate residents on the impact of combined sewer systems and green infrastructure.

Chatham Health Alliance — North Carolina

Chatham Health Alliance is implementing a multilevel initiative targeting obesity, the leading health issue identified in a 2014 Community Health Assessment.

The project leverages partnerships built between the Health Department, the Alliance and numerous stakeholders by embedding a Health in All Policies approach in the Chatham Country Comprehensive Plan, which sets the vision for the county over the next 25 years.

Village HeartBEAT — North Carolina

The Village HeartBEAT program is working to reduce the incidence of heart disease in the Public Health Priority Areas zip codes.

The program works in collaboration with all members of faith-based organizations and leaders to engage and ensure that everyone in Mecklenburg County enjoy good health, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age or socioeconomic status.

The Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition — Texas

The Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition is helping residents in three zip codes to more easily access and eat healthy foods by promoting current resources of fresh and locally grown food, hosting nutrition education sessions, and utilizing community health workers to connect residents to resources, as well as providing fresh produce delivery.

The Coalition partners with Waco area organizations to create awareness and access to the available fresh local produce by utilizing local vendors and resources, such as the Mobile Farmer’s Market.

Health Collaborative — Virginia

The Health Collaborative has created action teams in four areas: healthy eating, active living, access to health care and cross-cutting approaches.

The Health collaborative focuses on policies, systems and environmental change to support the creation of effective and inclusive policies. The Collaborative is providing access to food and opportunities for physical activity.

Active Design for a Healthier Thurston County — Washington

Thurston County addresses the need for better conditions to support physical activity in key county areas to increase access to and promotion of the trail system.

The project developed and applied web-based tools for data collection and display of information as part of the “walkshed” analysis, which measured the walkability around various locations. The analysis was aimed at boosting physical activity levels.

Honorable mentions

Food is Medicine — Florida

The Food is Medicine program aims to improve the health of people living in food deserts or low-income/low food access areas of St. Petersburg, Florida. The program offers residents access to low cost produce, increases educational opportunities and works to eliminate barriers to health.

The program uses a multifaceted approach to improve health behaviors and influence change. It uses education, community collaboration, biometric screenings and participant incentives. The program also offers evidence-based curriculum in areas such as wellness, nutrition, healthy cooking, budgeting for healthy eating, fitness, childhood obesity prevention, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Be Well, B’More — Maryland

The goal of Be Well, B’More is to increase physical activity and promote activities unifying Baltimore residents in the city’s outdoor space across neighborhoods.

The program uses trusted local partners within the neighborhoods through new cross-sector collaborations. Community organizations, such as Girl Trek and health Freedom Inc., as well as media partners, such as WBAL and the Baltimore Sun, allowed the program’s reach to expand.

Blue Print for Violence Reduction — New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey, reclassified community violence as a health issue. The project aims to promote healthier behaviors as a strategy for reducing violence.

Organizations worked together to focus on improving youth health in new and engaging ways that include non-traditional activities, such as chess and yoga, and violence interruptions, including “Occupy the Block” events.

The North Carolina Healthiest Counties Cross-Sector Team — North Carolina

The North Carolina Healthiest Counties Cross-Sector Team seeks to improve population health, payment reform and health equity in both Cabarrus and Durham Counties by addressing nutrition/food insecurity, physical activity, tobacco use, integrating physical activity “prescriptions” into clinical care and piloting health care delivery and payment reform through community health workers.

The Durham County Health Department and its partners launched public policy changes to encourage greater utilization of Community Health Workers to improve the physical and financial health of the county to improve the physical and financial health of the county.

Walk Works ChesCo! — Pennsylvania

The program’s goal is to promote, educate and empower people to adopt a healthier lifestyle by encouraging residents to walk through the Walk Works ChesCo! Program.

The program reached out to a diverse group of partner organizations to promote the challenge to get community members engaged. The group was actively engaged in planning, implementing and participating in the Challenge. Walk Works routes were announced in Coatesville and Phoenixville.

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2018 Health Care Trends

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Download the 2018 Health Care Trends report, provided by Aetna.

Despite the United States’ position as an economic powerhouse at the forefront of the tech boom, our health lags behind some countries. World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organisation – Global Health Observatory data http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends_text/en/ (WHO) figures show that our average life expectancy is lower than 30 other countries, including Switzerland, Australia and Canada. But the tide may finally be turning, with a monumental shift in how we approach health care, towards a personalized approach that focuses on each individual and all aspects of their well-being. Rather than concentrate solely on treating people when they’re sick, health care providers are placing a greater emphasis on keeping them healthy. Instead of visiting clinical facilities for the majority of their care, people are using technology to monitor their health and receive treatment in their homes.

Doctors, hospitals and health companies now have insight into all factors that can affect patient health – from lifestyle to income to genetics. And they are using that information to connect people to a wide range of health and social services within their communities.

The Aetna 2018 Health Care Trends Report explores the key factors driving this shift: New strategies that yield better results from our country’s investment in health care; innovative ways wearables could reduce spending on chronic diseases; the role of diversity in shaping a new health care system; how health companies can help conquer the scourge of opioid addiction. Read on to see how the development of these trends in the years to come can result in healthier communities, happier individuals and better health outcomes for all.

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