As we celebrate Community Health Improvement Week in 2021, it is with a deep sense of gratitude: for what we’ve learned over the past year and for the memories of those we’ve lost too soon; for the partnerships that lift us through good times and challenges; and for the privilege of serving those on the front lines of co-creating healthier, more equitable communities.

CHI Week is an opportunity to spotlight and elevate the passion, resilience and ingenuity of health care and community leaders who, arm in arm with community members, inspire us to work authentically together. Together, we’re far more than the sum of our parts.

This week, leaders like Mikelle Moore and Marcos Pesquera have written eloquently, reminding us of the importance of our shared purpose and how unique times bring unique challenges and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. In this moment of time, we have an opportunity to reflect on how our personal mission, vision and values align with the collective work we do. Bringing intentionality and inclusion to our lives and our work can provide a stronger foundation going forward.

As the global pandemic recedes, we must continue to accelerate our shared work focused on ensuring health equity and creating communities that contribute to vitality for all. This means moving forward with fresh insights and new ways of working together — and not returning to silos in which public health, health care delivery and community-based organizations act in disconnection from one another. Instead, we must continue to do the hard work of aligning our strategies and tactics to make continued progress toward our shared goal of a nation and world of healthy, vibrant communities.

To provide a space and platform for this ongoing collaboration and coordination, the AHA’s Community Health Improvement (ACHI) network brings together professionals to rise to the challenges and opportunities present in our communities.

  • If you’re not already part of this network, we encourage you to take the next step by joining today; it’s free for those who work at an AHA member hospital or health system.
  • If you’re already part of the ACHI network, we suggest you take the opportunity to reach out to a partner — or a potential partner — to reinforce your commitment to working together in and with communities to create the better future we all strive for.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please know how much we appreciate and admire each of you for the passion, intelligence, strength and beauty you bring via your work. You are the purpose for our work, and it is with genuine gratitude that we celebrate you this week.

Andrew Jager is director, population health, and Nancy Myers is vice president, leadership and system innovation, both at the AHA Center for Health Innovation.

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