Building Community Partnerships to Sustain Health Equity Programs
Community support and buy-in play key roles in program sustainability. When community members feel that their
concerns are being heard, programs are more likely to be sustained in the community. Research among American Indian/Alaska Native
communities also indicates that sustainability improves when a program demonstrates cultural relevance
and is supported by the community.
and Scaling Health Equity Impact describes a systems mapping method to help programs identify and
connect with potential partners. Relevant partners may include:
Healthcare systems and providers, such as community clinics, hospitals, and healthcare providers in private
Public and private payers, including private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid
Private sector companies, such as pharmacies and local businesses
State and local government agencies, including the health department, social services department, and city
Agencies that deal with a community's infrastructure, such as transportation and schools
Community organizations, such as faith-based organizations, coalitions, and task forces
After identifying potential partners, it is important to gain their support and buy-in. Partnerships should
clearly define shared goals, define each partner's roles in sustaining the program, and share ideas of how to
maintain momentum once the program's initial implementation phase ends. Identifying the right partners and
keeping them engaged is foundational to gaining community support and ensuring that services are relevant to the
For additional information on building collaboration, see Fostering Multi-Sector Collaboration to Advance
Health Equity in Module 2. For additional information on the importance of reaching collaborators who
can offer support for health equity interventions, see
Identifying and Engaging Dissemination Audiences for
Health Equity Work in Module 7.
Resources to Learn More
A Force Multiplier – Why Advocates for Rural Health and Health Equity Should Work Together
Discusses similarities between rural communities and communities of color and how funding efforts can bring
these groups together to multiply community impact.
Author(s): James, C. V.
Organization(s): Grantmakers in Health
for Health Equity and Opportunity: A Healthcare Playbook for Community Developers
Guide for community developers supporting the establishment of effective partnerships with hospitals and
healthcare systems that advance health equity.
Author(s): Moore, A.
Organization(s): Build Healthy Places Network, Public Health Institute
Health Equity: A Resource to Help Communities Address Social Determinants of Health
Workbook to assist public health practitioners in the development and expansion of initiatives addressing the
social determinants of health. Presents case studies from three groups — small-scale programs, traditional
public health programs, and large-scale programs — detailing various strategies and policy initiatives for
Author(s): Brennan Ramirez, L. K., Baker, E. A., & Metzler, M.
Organization(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention