By Gary Gunderson
“The prayers Gary Gunderson shares with us in this little book foster in anyone willing to enter fully into their spirit a sense of new possibilities for engagement with the sacred all around us in the communities where we live and serve.
“We hear in these paryers the voice of a poet, and also hear the words of a prophet calling for social justice, knowing for sure we should do better: ‘How do you stand it, God? What holds back your wrath and vengeance on all of us who care so little?”‘
“There is wonder at the goodness of the world created for us — astonished joy in the ‘leading causes of life,’ and amazement at life itself. He prays, ‘Thank You for weaving in ways we could not know to hope.'”
— Dr. Jerry Winslow, Loma Linda University
Editors: Teresa Cutts and James Cochrane
Developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this book is a rich and detailed review of some of the best practices in the areas of community health improvement, as well as clinical and community partnerships.
The chapters range from a crisp review of the social determinants or drivers of health to leadership for new partnerships between health systems and communities, relational information technology, community health navigation, financial aspects of partnering with community in a new “social return on investment” model, leadership, implementing resiliency models integrated across hospitals and the broader community.
Stakeholder Health is a learning collaboration of over 50 health systems and other partners.
Crafting Mercy in a Hard-Hearted Time
By Gary Gunderson
This book represents another step in the journey of a learning collaborative called Stakeholder Health, a network of mission-focused, charitable and faith-based healthcare organizations that shares ideas and inspiration to foster the health of whole communities. Beyond merely sharing smart approaches to what is now called population health, the movement’s real fuel is the conviction that together we can build communities in which every person counts, where no one is left out and no one suffers needlessly because of institutionalized unfairness.
Speak Life will give thoughtful readers plentiful opportunities to explore their own hopes for abundant life, for themselves and for those with whom they share life in community.
— Rev. Dr. Gerald Winslow, Loma Linda University
By Teresa Cutts and Gary Gunderson
The authors took a listening journey through places known for opioids and left-behind industry. They found strength born of gritty creativity.
The authors were surprised by a fire hose of knowledge, compassion, innovations from unlikely places, people and programs. They found people growing closer and stronger through storms of adversity, being transformed while caring for those previously seen as the “Other.” They saw love and compassion healing even those injured who had lost hope.
High points include the work of the Huntington, West Virginia’s Quick Response Team, who halved the number of opioid overdoses and significantly decreased opioid deaths within a few short years. You’ll also meet the Evergreen Cooperative, partnering with Cleveland health systems, universities and businesses, to offer economic and workforce stability to many who had no access before.
By Teresa Cutts, Gary R. Gunderson, James R. Cochrane
In November 2018 a group of curious health leaders hit the road to find what’s working with America’s hospitals and the communities they serve. The authors travelled from San Diego, to Wilmington, NC — some 3,400 miles over eighteen days — to meet the extraordinary groups who love their communities enough to want to change the patterns of poor health or human conditions.
“We have get out from behind our screens and go talk to some humans,” said Gary Gunderson in proposing this Road Trip. “We have to go, learn, listen where the life of the community is trying to break through, and see how grown-ups look at each other and figure out what to do.”
The authors tell stories, however brief, that should inspire you and renew your hope in the health of the public, at least where it matters most: on the ground.
By Phillip Summers
One day back before COVID-19, one of my brilliant researcher friends at the medical school, Phillip Summers, came into my office to say that he had followed his research right out the door and into the driver’s seat of a city bus. And not just for a bit of immersive participatory research. He was quitting his job and becoming a no-kidding bus driver. What? If COVID has taught us anything, it’s humble appreciation for the “essential” people on whom life depends.
Turns out that our lives depend on the careful diligence of researchers who quietly assemble and reflect on data about how human communities work so that we understand ourselves at least as well as potential virus might. And what could be more mundanely essential than bus service? This book is also about that—one researcher turning on the lights that all of us need in order to understand who we are, how we are connected, and how we might find our way on the other side of COVID.
“I learned quite a bit about public transportation during my year behind the wheel,” reflects Summers on his bus and community health. “I witnessed the hardships of transit-dependent individuals. I saw the neglect the buses and passengers endure at the hands of policy makers who overlook their mobility needs.”
— Gary Gunderson
The Health Systems Learning Group (HSLG) brought together 36 health systems to take advantage of the opportunities presented by national health reform to re-examine health system practices. The HSLG:
- Deliberately embraces a ‘learn-in-the-open’ approach—sharing transparently, while harvesting lessons from promising practices in the field,
- Promotes proactively managing charity care and leveraging community benefit requirements, not only to assess community health, but to invest in community health with a true integrative strategy,
- Documents its learning in this starting monograph in order to challenge leaders in the field to be the early adopters of an ensemble of practices that will improve health status, both inside and outside of their health systems.