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Importance of Sustainability Planning for SDOH Programs

Maintaining the resources, staff, and partnerships necessary for a rural program that addresses social determinants of health (SDOH) often involves careful planning from the outset of a new program. To ensure long-term sustainability, rural communities may need to demonstrate the ways that program activities are affecting participants and their communities. Evaluation is critical to documenting the value of investing in SDOH. For example, some rural health systems can measure cost savings that result from addressing SDOH, which may help make the case for continued funding of their programs.

Other key questions to consider when planning for sustainability include:

  • Who are the community leaders/champions, and what are strategies for getting them involved in the program?
  • What anchor institutions and other assets are present in the community to help sustain change?
  • How will the program continue to engage stakeholders, partners, and community members? What communication strategies and resources are critical for long-term engagement?
  • What in-kind contributions can the program leverage from stakeholders, partners, and the community?
  • How can the program manage and combine funding streams with different eligibility criteria?
  • How can the program publicize its successes and build support from the community, funders, and policymakers?
  • What kinds of obstacles could the program encounter, and what strategies could overcome these potential issues?

Rural SDOH program leaders may benefit from additional information about engaging in sustainability planning the Rural Health Information Hub provides in topic-specific toolkits:

Resources to Learn More

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities
Document

Describes sustainability planning strategies for grantees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Healthy Communities Program, which focuses largely on addressing community-level SDOH. Includes considerations for planning for sustainability of community-level SDOH approaches, especially for communities that are building coalitions.
Organization(s): National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Date: 4/2016