My projects have examined the realities of bridging the health sector and communities. They’ve involved convenings, writing, research and running a nonprofit.
Agency, Belonging & Health
A look at the medical evidence to see whether having agency (A) and belonging (B) can change (C) the odds on health
Through 2020, I am exploring the medical literature to understand whether having agency and a sense of belonging make good health more likely, and if so, how. I am doing this in partnership with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Our working hypothesis is that given that health is largely a consequence of place, and given that places are created through policies and systems, change is more likely where people and communities have agency and a sense of belonging. We aim to submit our findings for publication late 2020.
A highly-curated meeting of community-oriented practitioners willing to share the realities of their health-related work
Hosted by Loeb & Loeb in their Manhattan offices, these meetings are safe spaces in which community-oriented practitioners from different sectors are encouraged to share the struggles of their work with a view to learning from each other. Each meeting has about 20 participants and takes five months to prepare. There have been three to date (2014, 2015 & 2016) and more meetings are being considered. If you’re interested in participating, please get in touch.
With support from The California Endowment, this nine-month project examined how public health might use power building as a way to improve health
Delivered through my former nonprofit (Bridging Health & Community, Inc; see below) and in partnership with Collaborative Consulting, we explored how well public health understands the importance of community power to health, what is preventing the profession from embracing power-building as a health strategy, and what opportunities in the current landscape might help bring about change. The work included a detailed analysis of how change has happened in public health, including the role of narrative.
A two-day symposium in Oakland, CA, that explored how the health sector might work differently to better understand how communities define their health
Delivered through my former nonprofit, Bridging Health & Community, Inc (see below), and in collaboration with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and MIT Community Innovators Lab, this symposium sought to showcase work illustrating how the health sector might need to change to respond to communities. Its major supporters were The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and its editorial partners included Active Living By Design and ISAIAH.
August 2016 – December 2018
A two-year project to better understand how statutory systems in the UK fail those most in need
I, together with seven others, sought to truly understand why systems in the UK fail to understand or respond to those most in need. Through our work, including interviews of 34 community-oriented practitioners, we learnt of the need for greater parity between systems and citizens. Our analysis told us that some practitioners were already working this way, and would value being part of a community of practice. However, we found few funders willing to nurture such a community.
February 2013 – October 2014
An exploration to better understand how communities define their health and whether it was possible to create it
This work began with the insight that the demand for care in high-income countries had outstripped supply and would continue to do so – despite the many innovations I’d seen as the Physician Editor of TEDMED. I believed that at the heart of the challenge was the inability to see health as more than just the ‘absence of disease’. I sought to find new definitions of health, as well as practitioners trying to work with them. This project was the foundation of all of the other projects listed above.