142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Healthcare and Community Development: Cross-sector Collaboration to Promote Health

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

John Riordan, Master of City & Regional Planning , Office of Community Health, Boston Children's Hospital Director of Community Partnerships, Boston, MA

For 40 years, the community health and community development sectors have worked in parallel to support low-income populations; one by promoting healthcare access, the other by promoting affordable housing and employment.  Only recently have these two sectors recognized that the health of individual patients and entire communities require that they collaborate.   

The Fenway Community Development Corporation (FCDC), which manages 500 units of affordable housing serving 1500 low-income residents in a high poverty neighborhood that abuts Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), recently approached BCH for support for a part-time employment counselor position.  BCH agreed to underwrite an expanded, full-time position over seven years that also inluded collaborating with BCH on health education and health and social service referrals for FCDC's low-income tenants.


To improve access to health, employment and social services for low-income families through a cross-sector collaboration between a hospital and community development corporation


Over the past three years,

  • FCDC and Children’s Human Resources Department have:
    • served 196 residents through job readiness training
    • placed 25 residents in jobs at  Children’s and other local businesses
  • FCDC and Children’s Community Health Office have promoted healthy lifestyle choices for 167 residents through:
    • weight management classes
    • walking clubs
    • children’s health education series
    • neighborhood health fair
  • FCDC’s tenant counselor has made 329 referrals to:
    • health services (e.g., insurance, mental health counseling)
    • social services (e.g., food stamps, fuel assistance, financial literacy, childcare)


These preliminary results hold out the promise of:

  • health and quality of life improvements for low-income Fenway residents
  • a new community-based health worker model
  • a template for cross-sector collaboration

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate how a healthcare organization and a community development corporation can structure a cross-sector collaboration to improve access to health, education and social service supports for low income families

Keyword(s): Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration, Community Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Master of City and Regional Planning degree and extensive experience leading housing and economic development initiatives for community development corporations. As Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Boston, I oversaw implementation of a multi-sector "Healthy Boston" initiative. At Blue Cross, I coordinated "Boston Against Drugs," a nationally recognized coalition of business. government and community-based organizations. At Boston Children's Hospital, I have established partnerships with early education providers, schools and community organizations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.