BUILD Health Challenge to Fund Community Health Collaborations

Team Behind Practical Playbook Backs Initiative

November 19, 2014 02:49 pm Chris Crawford

As much as 70 percent of health outcomes can be attributed to the interplay and influence of social, physical and economic environments on health behaviors, according to four groups that, collectively, have launched an initiative known as the BUILD Health Challenge( to help tackle the issue. As part of that effort, the groups -- the Advisory Board Company, the de Beaumont Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- are ponying up as much as $7.5 million in grants and loans to foster and expand meaningful partnerships among health systems, community-based organizations, local health departments and other organizations that affect community health.

[Health professionals in discussion around table]

Specifically, the national competitive awards program is intended to recognize community collaborations that are taking Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local and Data-driven approaches to improve community health, promote health equity and provide resources to communities that are implementing these strategies.

Julie Wood, M.D., AAFP vice president of health of the public and science and interprofessional activities, serves on the national advisory board for the BUILD Health Challenge. In an interview with AAFP News, she explained that the program is the second phase of a broader project to improve community health dubbed A Practical Playbook: Public Health & Primary Care Together.(

"The AAFP has been pleased to be a key leader during the development and implementation of the Practical Playbook -- an online tool to guide both primary care and public health professionals to better work together to integrate services to improve care and outcomes," said Wood. "To achieve true community and population health, as well as the triple aim (improving care, enhancing health outcomes and reducing the cost of care), it is essential that we strengthen community-oriented systems of care.

Story highlights
  • The BUILD Health Challenge initiative plans to offer as much as $7.5 million in grants and loans to foster and expand meaningful partnerships among organizations that affect community health.
  • Five one-year planning awards of $75,000 each (plus a possible additional $100,000 for each awardee) and nine two-year implementation awards of $250,000 each will be distributed.
  • An additional $4 million loan fund will be available to support community revitalization efforts that closely complement the activities funded by the BUILD Health Challenge.

"This second phase of the Playbook is looking beyond systems-level change and support and more at the practice level to engage community stakeholders -- including family physicians."

Who is Eligible to Participate?

The BUILD Health Challenge invites communities to take part in this nationwide effort to uncover and spotlight best-practice models and innovative approaches that focus on upstream factors know to influence health status. These factors -- often referred to as the social determinants of health -- include areas such as early childhood development, economic opportunity, transportation, educational attainment, public safety and housing.

The partners of the BUILD Health Challenge have dedicated as much as $7.5 million during the next two years to support initiatives in 14 cities around the United States.

To be eligible for funding through the program,( applicants must

  • include (at minimum) the partnership of a hospital or health system, a local health department, and a nonprofit community organization or coalition of organizations;
  • target a neighborhood or census tract that is experiencing significant health disparities within a city of 150,000 residents or more; and
  • be willing to participate in a learning collaborative and openly share challenges, results and outcomes.

Apply for One of Two Funding Tracks

Applicants can choose whether their collaborative effort fits best with a planning or an implementation award. A total of five one-year planning awards of $75,000 each and nine two-year implementation awards of $250,000 each will be distributed. All planning awardees are then eligible for an additional implementation grant of as much as $100,000.

Key Dates for BUILD Health Challenge

To find out more about grant funding available through the BUILD Health Challenge, interested parties are invited to register for a Dec. 2 Q&A Web conference( from 2-3 p.m. ET or a Dec. 4 Q&A Web conference( from 1-2 p.m. ET.

For those interested in applying for a low-interest loan offered through the Challenge, a Dec. 9 webinar( from 1-2 p.m. ET will explain more about that funding option.

Other important dates are

  • Jan. 16: Round 1 applications due
  • Feb. 12: Invitations extended to select applicants for Round 2
  • April 10: Round 2 applications due
  • June 9: Awardees publicly announced in Washington, D.C., and first convening with coaching and supporting partners

Planning awards will cover activities such as

  • analyzing data and research,
  • developing strategic plans,
  • engaging community stakeholders,
  • convening local partners to define roles and responsibilities, and
  • mapping organizational assets.

Implementation awards will cover activities such as

  • advancing local policy solutions that will create better opportunities for health;
  • expanding the range of committed partners to bring complementary sets of expertise, resources and capacities to the table;
  • supporting staff to manage the initiative, organize the community and keep all partners on track;
    developing robust data-sharing agreements to inform intervention strategies and track results for
  • continuous improvement;
  • strategic communications; and
  • program evaluation.

In addition to funding, awardees will gain access to a comprehensive package of technical assistance and support services that will guide them in their planning and implementation efforts.

Finally, an additional $4 million loan fund will be available to support community revitalization efforts that closely complement activities funded by the BUILD Health Challenge.