Government public health agencies partner with national nonprofit organizations to create a culture of health

ATLANTA, October 19, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Based on an unprecedented increase in public health funding and an extraordinary focus on the health equity divide during the COVID-19 pandemic, government public health and its partners have a unique opportunity to amplify a vision for vibrant communities where everyone can lead their healthiest lives. Seizing this moment will require effective intersectoral and interagency coordination to build a culture of health. In a new program announced today, the CDC Foundation, the American Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and MPHI will engage intermediary organizations, such as local health providers, the religious community and others, to support state government health agencies (SHA). This work will be made possible through partnerships with public and social sector entities to ensure optimal use of federal funding to achieve health equity and build resilient communities.

Although SHAs are integral to building a culture of health, they face challenges in creating the lasting systemic change needed to realize the vision of healthy and resilient communities. These challenges range from a divestment in public health to a workforce deeply affected by the global pandemic to the public health crisis of racism and oppression. As the challenges facing public health become more complex, the role of partnerships and strategic alignment with communities, state and local organizations, intermediary organizations and others becomes more critical.

“Designing and mobilizing inclusive and equitable public health systems is too much of a task for public health agencies alone, as it would be for any sector in particular,” said Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, Head of Equity and Health Strategy at the CDC Foundation. “Intermediaries and other local partners bring valuable expertise, resources, networks and community perspectives that will contribute to success. Through a coordinated, multisectoral approach, we can transform our public health system into one with the resources, capacity and networks to create communities where everyone has a fair and equitable chance to be healthy. ”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded program, titled STRETCH – Strategies to Repair Equity and Transform Community Health – will pay particular attention to promoting and strengthening relationships between SHAs, intermediary organizations and the communities they serve to strategically target federal investments to achieve health equity in partnership with the community.

“Bouncing back from the impacts of COVID-19 on the community will not be easy and it will require strong leadership,” said ASTO CEO Michael fraser. “State and territory health officials know that working directly with community leaders, the faith community, local health providers and social service agencies is the best way to address health disparities. ASTO welcomed the injection of federal funds to reduce disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 Channeling these funds to communities and organizations that support public health response efforts requires coordination at all levels of the government. health system. multisectoral partnerships that promote the resilience and well-being of communities.

As part of this program, the CDC Foundation, ASTHO and MPHI will identify, select and provide technical assistance to up to 10 SHA teams, at different stages of their system change and journey to equity. This support will include launching a learning community, providing tailored coaching to individual SHA teams, and developing national technical assistance resources. Jurisdictions with preliminary questions or an interest can contact STRETCH partners at [email protected].

There are three main objectives, which include supporting SHAs to: 1) use the new funding available to create and execute public health funding strategies that have the greatest and most equitable impact on public health ; 2) design meaningful and sustainable systems change and create inclusive and equitable public health systems; and 3) mainstream equity into strategic priorities, partnership approaches, program development and implementation, policies and practices of SHAs.

“Public health is essentially government,” says Renée Branch Canady, PhD, MPA, Executive Director, MPHI “This initiative leverages the capacity of public health partners to advance the vital and shared agenda of public health leaders States. for the health and well-being of our people. “

SHAs selected to participate in this project will be part of a peer learning community and receive tailored technical assistance on a variety of topics. The specific areas will be developed jointly with the participating SHAs to include topics such as:

  • Use newly available funds to sustainably integrate health equity into public health functions and services;
  • Improve leadership capacity by strengthening intersectoral and community partnerships and shared prioritization with communities to deal with systems change;
  • Understand and apply effective and sustainable funding strategies that include the dissemination of funding to local jurisdictions and communities, including the use of intermediaries; and
  • Leverage modernization and data integration efforts for health equity and community well-being.

“Now is the time to be bold. This is an important time to make changes that create opportunities for everyone in our society to thrive, ”said Hilary heishman, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Strengthening public health with a look to the future is fundamental to this vision. ”

About the CDC Foundation: The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropic organizations, businesses, organizations and individuals to protect health, safety and security of the United States and the world. The CDC Foundation is the nonprofit association authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private sector resources to support the critical health protection mission of the CDC. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has collected more than $ 1.6 billion and has launched more than 1,200 programs impacting a variety of health threats, from chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses including COVID-19 and Ebola. The CDC Foundation has managed hundreds of CDC-led programs in United States and in over 160 countries last year. Learn more about and follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and TIC Tac.

About ASTO: ASTHO is the national non-profit organization representing public health agencies in United States, the United States territories and freely associated states, and the District of Colombia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals that these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the key health officials in these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and ensuring excellence in public health practice. .

About MPHI: MPHI is a Michigannonprofit public health institute that leads public health efforts across the country. Our mission is to promote the health and well-being of all. Our extensive network of partners includes universities, governments, community organizations and healthcare providers. These connections allow us all to develop solutions to a wide range of challenges. Learn more about our work by visiting

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in United States. In partnership with others, we work to develop a culture of health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and equitable opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money. they have. For more information visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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