Value of Prevention Network: 2020 pilot
We launched the Value of Prevention Network (VOP Network) in early 2020 to convene grantees of the Blue Shield of California Foundation who were all focused on shaping the future of health — through community-rooted solutions to health equity, institutional investments in prevention, and to create new, multidimensional ways of collaborating. The participants in the Network were diverse, representing non-profits providing key health and social services, intermediaries brokering relationships between community-based organizations and institutions, and organizations supporting networks focused on equitable policy. The launch was intended to activate a network of grantees exploring questions of strategic importance to the foundation, and a wider field of researchers and practitioners, about the value of prevention. Shift Health Accelerator was invited to co-convene the group to generate ideas, cultivate relationships, and pollinate cross-sector learning aimed at collectively shifting narratives about systems that prioritize health.
While the Network was launched just before the lockdowns and for most of 2020, offered a space that replaced what we used to take for granted – the time just before meetings to connect with folks from other organizations, the time spent while grabbing a quick bite to eat in the office, the question posed off hand to colleagues while passing in the hall – the informal spaces of idea exchange.
Over time the Network took shape with a running theme: influencing decision-makers in government and healthcare to invest in equitable change and social determinants as part of the response and long-term recovery from the COVID pandemic. We discussed collective challenges to influencing change and surfaced strategies that have been working, such as nurturing long-term relationships with champions in government and healthcare.
The Network came together throughout the year, and identified insights and opportunities:
- Increasing investments in equitable prevention requires a multi-pronged approach and leveraging inside and outside systems approaches concurrently.
- Supporting community change-agents will bolster community-led efforts and local policy advocacy, as well as collaboration across networks of cross-disciplinary efforts.
- Institutions, particularly health systems and government, lack accountability mechanisms to hold system leaders accountable to their equity commitments.
- Pairing accountability and trust building between community leaders and institutional partners, and holding the tensions between these aims, can yield unexpected and valuable partnerships and champions.
What comes next? While the VOP network served as a connection space during 2020, the ideas and connections live on. Shift is launching a Healthcare Accountability Learning and Action Network for healthcare leaders to grapple with their power and to shift concrete efforts – funding, data, decisions – into community hands. Shift will be inviting participants from this effort back into a space together in early 2023 to share ideas from related efforts, ultimately aiming to create field standards to shape community owned health equity commitments.
Value of Prevention Network participants included: Native American Health Center, Center for Domestic Peace, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, Health Education Council, Build Healthy Places Network, Social Finance, Third Sector Capital Partners, JSI, Inc., SmartAirLA, BARHII, the Health In All Policies Taskforce, and California Budget and Policy Center.