An increasing number of employers understand that creating healthier places to live, learn, work, and play can have a significant positive impact on the health of communities.

Taking on the Challenges:

One of the most common challenges employers face when they invest in communities is assuring that they achieve maximum reach and impact. People who need the most help are often the hardest to reach. Employers can increase the effectiveness of their community-based efforts by:

Partner With Local Organizations

Team With Other Employers in the Community

Customize Solutions to Individual Communities

Utilize Health Data to Find Opportunities for Improvement

Take Action:

To improve the health of communities, employers should begin to understand and support the health of communities by reviewing metrics already being captured in the following areas and collaborating with local public- and private-sector leaders on programs designed to promote improvements in any or all of the following:

Health behaviors, with a focus on physical activity, nutrition, and tobacco use;

Clinical care and health outcomes, with a focus on access to care, preventive services, and prevalence of chronic disease;

Social and economic factors that have been shown to improve the health of communities, with a focus on education, housing, access to nutritious foods and beverages, and childhood poverty.

Immediate Term

  1. Understand the health of communities in which you have employees by reviewing metrics already being captured in the following areas:
  • Health behaviors, with a focus on:
    • Physical activity, nutrition, and obesity, for both adults and children.
    • Tobacco use.
  • Clinical care and health outcomes, with a focus on:
    • Access to care, including the percentage of uninsured and access to primary care.
    • Preventive services, including the percentage of adults and children who have received appropriate immunizations and the percentage of adults, as applicable, who have received appropriate diabetic, blood pressure, and mammography screenings.
    • Prevalence of chronic disease, including percentage of individuals with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Social and economic factors, which have been shown to improve the health of individuals and communities with a focus on education, housing, access to fresh food, and childhood poverty.

Near Term

  1. Commit to and develop plans for improving the health of communities in which you have employees and/or serve, working in collaboration with local public- and private-sector leaders, and focusing on one or more of the above-identified areas
  2. Join forces with other employers to establish national goals for community health improvement focusing at a minimum on the above-identified areas

Long Term

  1. Collaborate with local public- and private-sector leaders, including schools, to support and implement programs that will improve health in at least one community, focusing on one or more of the above-identified areas
  2. Build community health into decision-making regarding selection of new sites for expansion

A number of public and private efforts have begun to measure the health of cities, counties, and states to bring actionable data for improvement to communities across the nation.

Featured Strategies

Scott P. Serota

President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies invest heavily in improving the health of the communities each Plan serves, providing much needed financial and human resources, along with industry expertise, to help improve local health and wellness. As locally operated health plans, the Blues forge relationships with strategic partners at the local level to provide life-changing health interventions (e.g., for conditions such as childhood obesity and diabetes), support a culture of volunteerism and civic entrepreneurship among employees, target philanthropy toward programs that demonstrate clear and tangible outcomes, and invest in developing the primary care workforce of tomorrow.

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Alex Gorsky

Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

The intent of the company’s strategic philanthropy in New Jersey is to strengthen the health and vitality of local communities, with a focus on collaborative community networks addressing priority issues where many of its employees live and work. Johnson & Johnson works with more than 50 partners delivering 75 programs to impact the health of community residents in the state. The programs fall within three strategic pillars: preventing disease in vulnerable populations, preparing students for college and career, and addressing community livability.

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Muhtar Kent

Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is investing in physical fitness programs and nutrition education programs that target both adults and youth in communities across the United States and the world. It is also supporting efforts to engage physicians, nurses, dieticians, and other health professionals in promoting exercise and wellness, raising awareness of the importance of healthy energy balance, assuring that disadvantaged youth have access to sporting equipment, and educating young people on the importance of physical activity and good nutrition.

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Lowell C. McAdam

Chairman and CEO, Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications innovatively applies technology to address some of the most important social issues by deploying technology-enabled, mobile health clinics to connect children to quality health care, leveraging technology to improve chronic disease management among underserved women, and using remote monitoring tools to enable underserved seniors with chronic conditions to age in place longer.

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Gregory D. Wasson

President and CEO, Walgreens

The Walgreen Co. is rapidly expanding immunization rates through a multifaceted strategy that involves engaging with the federal and state public health community, investing in solutions that increase access to coverage, expanding accessibility to all CDC-recommended vaccines, and raising awareness among individuals about the importance of immunization. Walgreens is also increasing access to care through convenient health care clinics to support both preventive care and chronic condition management. Technology helps Walgreens health care clinics support better care and coordination with health plans, primary care providers, and other health system partners.

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Find out how you can share your business’ health care initiatives

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