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Can Hospitals Help Create Healthy Neighborhoods?

There’s a growing recognition that good health depends on “upstream” population health actions, well before a person enters the health care system, and that community institutions play a key role.

But which institutions are well placed to function as hubs to integrate health care and other services within a community to achieve better health? Certainly, community schools, which are public schools that work with partners to provide a range of health and social services to children, have taken on that role with success.

What about hospitals? Some hospital systems, such as Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York, have a long history of collaborating with the local community to tackle upstream problems. Some others, such as Washington Adventist Hospital in Maryland, are now experimenting with multiple approaches to building healthy neighborhoods. Indeed, there is growing interest in hospitals playing a greater upstream role.

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