Overview and History
In December 2016, leaders from 40 health systems across the U.S. gathered in Washington, DC to explore how their systems could more fully harness their economic power to inclusively and sustainably benefit the long-term health and well-being of the communities they serve. This convening led to the launch of the Healthcare Anchor Network in May 2017, representing a critical milestone in mobilizing the healthcare sector towards action and collaboration.
HAN exists to incubate and scale strategies that establish the anchor mission as a healthcare sector priority and to lead innovation in anchor mission implementation, both internally and in partnership with community. We aim to define the healthcare leadership standard and promote industry collaboration for proactively addressing economic and racial inequities in community conditions that create poor health (or what is sometimes referred to as structural determinants of health).
The long-term goal is to reach a critical mass of health systems adopting as an institutional priority to improve community health and well-being by leveraging all their assets, including hiring, purchasing, and investment for equitable, local economic impact.
We seek to address root causes: economic and racial inequities that create barriers to health and thriving for people and communities. We value equity, community well-being, and sustainability as core principles of healthy communities.
Founding members of the Healthcare Anchor Network include Advocate Aurora Health, CommonSpirit Health, Henry Ford Health System, Kaiser Permanente, ProMedica, Providence St. Joseph Health, Rush University Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health, Trinity Health, and UMass Memorial Health Care. Today, over 65 hospitals and health systems are Network members.
Activities of the Network
The Healthcare Anchor Network convenes health systems in order to share best practices for advancing an anchor mission approach within their health institutions, address common challenges, co-develop new tools, and identify areas where collaborative efforts may be possible.
Network members identified priority areas for the work they are advancing together, with initiative groups focused around:
- Advancing the organizational imperative for adopting and implementing an anchor mission;
- Effective collaboration with community stakeholders in implementing anchor strategies;
- Building evidence of the impact of these strategies and assessing our member’s progress through a yearly data collection process;
- Developing a shared policy and advocacy agenda around addressing upstream determinants of health;
- Implementing anchor strategies around inclusive, local hiring and internal workforce development; place-based investing; and inclusive, local purchasing; and,
- Leveraging internal and external philanthropy to catalyze other anchor strategies.
Network members advance their work and shared learning through monthly peer-to-peer initiative workgroups, two in-person convenings annually, and deep-dive webinars on topics determined by members. Through the Network’s structured learning opportunities, members can share their experiences candidly with a group of like-minded peers and learn about challenges, innovations, and best practices from peer institutions.
Membership in the Healthcare Anchor Network is open to representatives of all health systems that can bring their energy, insight, and innovation to the collective work. We hope you and your hospital or health system will join us in advancing the anchor mission of healthcare — and, in the process, meaningfully improving community health and well-being outcomes for those we serve and across our nation.
For further information on joining the Healthcare Anchor Network, please let us know a little about you and your institution here or just reach out directly to Carol Gaudino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Members and Member Insights
“ProMedica is proud to be one of the founding members of the Healthcare Anchor Network because as a non-profit, mission based healthcare organization we believe it is imperative to invest in our communities and help to drive economic prosperity through local hiring, purchasing and investing strategies. The Network provides a forum where we can come together with peer institutions who share our commitment to Anchor Institution strategies and where we can develop innovative solutions to challenges, that will ultimately improve the health and well-being of those we serve. By focusing on inclusive economic strategies, health care can use its considerable breadth and depth to positively impact the economic determinants of health.”
CEO and President,
“Our mission at Intermountain Healthcare is helping people live the healthiest lives possible.® It energizes us to improve the health of those who live in our communities. Healthcare has the opportunity to achieve this by addressing the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health. We’re striving to address these determinants in our business practices by practicing inclusive, local hiring while developing our supply chain toward more inclusive, local purchasing. We have also joined other Healthcare Anchor Network members in committing to being a place-based investor by dedicating a portion of our investments to local projects to generate measurable social and health impact, in addition to a modest financial return. We are designing these health impact investments to improve overall population health status, which will make healthcare more affordable for communities. The Healthcare Anchor Network provides a way for us to advance this work with our community partners, and it gives us many opportunities to learn from other innovative health systems.”
Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
“By our very nature, hospitals and health systems are anchor institutions in the neighborhoods we serve, and the well-being of our communities will always be an institutional priority. This is why Advocate Aurora Health was one of the co-founding members of the Healthcare Anchor Network, to convene the healthcare sector to implement socially responsible hiring, training, purchasing, and investment strategies. Healthcare can improve the social and economic factors that impact upstream determinants of health, lift local residents to strengthen our communities, and help lessen economic, racial and environmental inequities. The Healthcare Anchor Network helps us to advance new practices that help distressed communities to build up their local economy and community.”
Chief External Affairs Officer, Advocate Aurora Health
“Rush adopted a broader mission to ‘improve health’ in recognition of the ongoing health crises in the neighborhoods around our main campus on the West Side of Chicago. Significant health care inequities exist because there are additional factors that affect one’s health such as complex social, economic, and structural determinants of health including structural racism and economic deprivation. The anchor mission vision is part of Rush’s strategic plan and embedded in our institution’s DNA. We look at ourselves in the mirror and ask, what more can we do in this moment to be the change we want to see? The Healthcare Anchor Network helps us to accelerate the change process and our investing, hiring, purchasing, and volunteering in our communities, as well as amplify our message that racial equity must be central to our work as health care leaders and we must take action now.”
Dr. David Ansell
Senior Vice President for Community Health Equity, Rush University Medical Center
“As Henry Ford Health System continues to focus on uplifting healthy communities in the regions we serve, we lean on our relationship with the Healthcare Anchor Network for guidance, support, and sharing of critical information. It is vital that the entire healthcare sector explore and commit to investments in the social needs and determinants of health, and the HAN is leading the way to promote this activity and collaboration among its members. Henry Ford’s commitment to Detroit and the surrounding region is over a century old, yet continues to evolve as health and wellness needs change, and as we better understand their underpinnings. It is incumbent on leading health systems to orient their culture toward addressing persistent inequities, and we believe that active membership with HAN is a major component of our effort in this area.”
Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNITY HEALTH & EQUITY, HENRY FORD HEALTH SYSTEM
“Recognizing the inseparable relationship between the social determinants of health and health outcomes, it is essential for health care to play a leadership role in addressing the systemic inequities that prevent members of our communities from experiencing good health. RWJBarnabas Health is extremely proud to be a co-founding member of the Healthcare Anchor Network. Together, as anchor institutions, we share a mission of developing more effective strategies and innovative solutions to leverage our purchasing, hiring, and investing to benefit the communities we serve.”
Barry H. Ostrowsky
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RWJBARNABAS HEALTH