Recentering Health Systems around the Needs and Goals of Residents

Dimensions of the Health Ecosystem

A planning guide to help health systems develop resident engagement strategies

Between 2016 and 2018, the ReThink Health Ventures project explored new ways of recentering health systems around the needs and goals of residents. With support from Public Agenda, they worked with multi-sector teams in six metropolitan regions across the country. In Seattle, Sonoma County, Albuquerque, Central Oregon, Trenton, and Rochester, teams were rethinking how citizens can interact with health institutions as consumers, patients, and advocates, and discovering ways to build stronger local networks and social capital, with the goal of creating a more interdependent and inclusive health economy in each region.

At each partner location, the teams were working to engage large numbers of residents and other essential partners who were working towards a common goal of transforming health in their areas, refining their definitions of health, and developing plans to achieve health equity in their communities. 

Public Agenda assisted this process by helping team members:

  • Learn about engagement and its place in the health ecosystem, including the factors driving the need for engagement, the benefits of involving citizens, the strengths and limitations of current engagement practices, and the latest directions for innovation;
  • Define what engagement means to them, and in the context of their local work;
  • Take stock of what kinds of engagement opportunities currently exist in their communities, and how those activities are working;
  • Begin to set goals for the kinds of engagement they want to initiate, support, and sustain in their health systems and communities.

To accomplish these goals, Public Agenda created a planning curriculum for the Ventures teams, including:

  • Meeting agendas;
  • Discussion questions;
  • Presentations on engagement (pre-recorded, narrated slide decks);
  • Supplementary readings;
  • Interactive planning exercises.

The curriculum provides the structure and materials for several meetings of a planning group. 

You can download the toolkit here.