Underlying drivers of poor health outcomes in Trenton are many, varied, and related to poverty, structural racism, undiagnosed behavioral health, food insecurity, homelessness, childhood trauma and many other variables that a traditional medical entity is ill-equipped to address.
Professionals working with vulnerable populations in Trenton are aware how limited their influence can be when operating independently and addressing just one of their client’s challenges.
A systems approach to health improvement means understanding all the factors affecting health and well-being, including the environment, the economy, local and national policy, education, behavioral health, personal history, access to clinical care — and more.
Collaboration across sectors enables co-designed solutions, reduces duplication, grows community capacity and enables information sharing that ultimately benefits the community and individuals.
Having a neutral organization that is trusted, transparent, and has broad leadership is key. Having a dedicated administrative infrastructure to schedule meetings, take minutes and notes and keep people accountable with follow-up also is necessary for successful partnerships.
The Regional Health Hub concept envisions a statewide network of backbone organizations working on healthcare in their communities and creates a sustainable infrastructure funding for this convening, care coordination, and data-sharing work.
While there will always be a need to focus on and provide resources for the highest-need patients, a clinical focus cannot be the only strategy for addressing health status in Trenton.
Actively collaborating to improve safety, education, economic development and address other interconnected issues that no single organization or sector can resolve will lead to better outcomes.