Health care systems across the U.S. are increasingly focused on opportunities to achieve greater health equity. Cultivating meaningful relationships with their surrounding communities and involving community members in program and policy decision-making is integral for health systems to offer equitable care. By prioritizing collaborative relationships with community partners, health systems can better understand community needs and work together to design more responsive approaches to reduce health disparities and drive better health outcomes.

This report outlines practical approaches to guide health systems in more meaningfully involving community members and being more accountable to the communities they serve. These strategies draw from a national exploration made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with Center for Health + Justice Transformation. To understand opportunities for developing more community-driven and accountable health systems, the partner organizations conducted a literature review and interviews with safety-net health systems, community-based organizations, and subject matter experts. The report summarizes key findings for developing health systems that are more accountable to communities and outlines practical considerations to guide health systems in shifting the power balance to involve community members in decision-making processes.