When health care organizations like the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the American Public Health Association decide to work together on something, it's worth taking a look at why they are doing so.
As it turns out, they are teaming up for the same reasons hospitals and public health departments are working more closely together, which happens to be the subject of an H&HN story that will be published online next Tuesday.
The reasoning behind the IHI-APHA collaboration is that in order to boost overall health of the population, as the IHI and APHA are trying to do with separate special initiatives, it's more productive to work together. Increasingly, hospitals and local public health departments are thinking the same thing, encouraged in part by successful joint efforts to create the community health needs assessments required by the Affordable Care Act.
The IHI, with its 100 Million Healthier Lives Initiative, and the APHA, which has set a goal of making the United States the healthiest nation by 2030, offer complementary strengths that make formal cooperation a natural step, say officials for the two groups.
"We're more focused on implementation," while the APHA's background is more on policy and advocacy, said Soma Stout, M.D., IHI's executive external lead for health improvement.
Susan Polan, the APHA's associate executive director for public affairs and advocacy, used a playground analogy. "We play in different sandboxes that are next to each other," Polan said. "We have very similar goals," she said.
The collaboration for the APHA is not likely to be its last. The nonprofit already has worked with CVS Health on its anti-smoking moves and with the Brady Campaign on gun safety. "We are talking to anyone who will talk to us" about spreading awareness and taking action, Polan said.
The announcement not coincidentally was timed to come during National Public Health Week, which began Monday. You can learn more about the APHA's 2030 effort during a Twitter chat scheduled for 2 p.m. ET today, using the hashtag #NPHWchat.