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Aligning strategies, policies and resources makes for a stronger plan, but can be challenging. The goal is to have a stronger impact by aligning efforts inside and outside clinic walls, and with work at the state and national level. Also, by aligning policies and resources with your identified strategies, you build in greater sustainability.
One way to approach alignment is to identify a strategy in each of the Three Buckets of Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Once those are aligned take a look at each strategy and identify policies and resources that will support it.
Policies may be legislative but not always; clinic, school and workplace policies count too. Likewise, “resources” can mean funding, but also infrastructure, staffing and political will).
- It helps to have a structured process, and to engage partners early in that process.
- It also helps to address resource needs right from the start.
Challenge: There are many ways to align and partner, and these efforts may seem overwhelming.
Try: Use the Three Buckets of Prevention Framework. Identifying just one strategy in each of the three buckets is a great beginning to an aligned approach. Once you have strategies in each bucket, you can begin to align policies and resources that will help you achieve them.
Challenge: Your local or regional health priorities may not be the same as identified state or national priorities, making it harder to align efforts.
Try: Develop strategies that impact more than one health issue. A policy to reduce consumption of sugary beverages can impact obesity, diabetes and oral health. A trauma-informed approach in healthcare systems can impact both adult mental health and preventive care of children.
Challenge: Supporting and enforcing policy can be as important as establishing policy.
Try: Identify policies that are currently in place and may need greater support and enforcement. Example: The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Do employees who qualify for FMLA feel they jeopardize their employment if they utilize it? Does this impact the employee's health or the health of a family member?
Challenge: Look beyond funding when aligning resources behind a goal.
Try: Aligning resources such as infrastructure, partnerships, and pro bono services behind a shared goal can help move work forward. There are also intangible resources such as political will. When those are in place it is usually easier to obtain funding when funds become available.
- "Aligning Policy, Systems and Environmental Change”, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
- Aligning with Foundational Public Health Services, Department of Health
- Aligning with Prevention and Community Health Funding, Department of Health
- Aligning Clinical-Community Linkages, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Aligning with Hospital Benefit Nonprofit Hospitals' Community Benefit Requirements (PDF), HealthAffairs.org
- Aligning with Value-Based Payment Road Map Washington Health Care Authority