Lessons and recommendations from Healthy Outcomes Initiative

Human services organizations have a critical role to play helping people improve their health by addressing the “social determinants of health” – economic stability, education, social connection, housing, safe neighborhoods, and food access. A new report by Nonprofit Finance Fund, Human Services Organizations: Partnering for Better Community Health, explores how collaboration between human services and healthcare organizations can significantly improve the well-being of US communities.

The report is part of a capstone for the Healthy Outcomes Initiative, a multi-year project supported by The Kresge Foundation that explored using social determinants of health as fundamental building blocks for health.

“Amid tumultuous times for human services and healthcare providers, the Healthy Outcomes Initiative contributes insights from the field to strengthen the connection among community health stakeholders,” said Nima Krodel of NFF. “The Kresge Foundation’s support allowed us to investigate and share front-line experiences and lessons that can be applied today as we work collectively toward healthier futures.”

The Initiative was designed to prepare human services organizations for deeper collaborations with health partners, build bridges across siloed sectors, and yield applicable insights and recommendations for the field. Under the Initiative, NFF created a cross-sector learning network and advisory group, conducted group trainings, engaged in intensive financial consulting with human services organizations, and shared knowledge through events and publications. 

Key Initiative findings include:

  • Human services organizations need investments in capacity and capital to be able to bring their expertise, innovative service delivery, and community roots to partnerships
  • While there’s a wide spectrum of integration among partnerships between historically siloed sectors of healthcare and human services organizations, a common aim is to harness data on outcomes and cost to demonstrate the power of collaborative approaches
  • Leaders are looking to institutionalize collaborative models from successful pilots into longer-term contracting practices 
  • Recommendations for next steps include building a pipeline of partnership-ready human services organizations, fostering continual knowledge-sharing to accelerate momentum for integration and policy reform, and fueling transformation with innovative, flexible capital

Human Services Organizations: Partnering for Better Community Health and accompanying resources offer insights and next steps to define what’s needed for human services organizations and health stakeholders to work together in new ways to improve the quality of life for people across the US. 

Click here for more information about NFF’s work in health.