St. Jude Medical Center’s collaboratives improve community health

When the Sisters of St. Joseph were founded in 1650, the Rev. Jean Pierre Medaille asked the original Sisters to visit their neighborhoods, identify the needs of the poor and work with partners to meet those needs. Over the past two decades, St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., has carried on this heritage by helping to start and support four community collaboratives to address the needs of people today.

Two of the collaboratives are now separate nonprofit organizations. Each collaborative has representation from city government, school districts, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations and businesses. The collaboratives use a collective impact approach to address priority health issues:

  • Fullerton Collaborative focuses on at-risk youth, homelessness, and readiness for kindergarten and obesity prevention.
  • La Habra Collaborative focuses on literacy, homelessness and obesity prevention.
  • Buena Park Collaborative focuses on obesity prevention, homelessness and supporting a family resource center.
  • Placentia Collaborative focuses on obesity prevention and homelessness.

St. Jude Medical Center holds regular meetings with the part-time collaborative directors to share best practices and work on common issues that crosscut all four cities. While the medical center provides a small amount of financial support related to its Move More, Eat Healthy Initiative, its main support is to represent the hospital on the collaborative board or leadership team, help with capacity building and provide technical assistance.

Each collaborative is a major asset to its city. Recently the mayor of Fullerton asked the Fullerton Collaborative to host his state of the city address in the form of a community fair at the Downtown Plaza. Each collaborative has advocated for policies that help create healthier communities. For example, the Fullerton Collaborative successfully advocated for adding a public health element in the city’s general plan, and the La Habra Collaborative has advocated for a healthy city vending machine policy. The St. Joseph Health team believes that hospitals can and must play a key role in creating and sustaining strong community partnerships that improve health and quality of life.

Contact information:

Barry Ross
Regional Director, Community Health Investment
Providence St. Joseph Health Southern California

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