Chair Files

Sustaining Community Health Improvement

Two health care systems and more than 20 community organizations are improving the health and wellness of residents in the city of Whittier, Calif., by sharing resources, skills, assets and knowledge. In 2007, PIH Health and Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center conducted community health needs assessments which identified high rates of obesity in the community of Whittier and an increase in diabetes prevalence. The following year, these two regional health care systems partnered with the city of Whittier, the YMCA of Greater Whittier and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to establish Activate Whittier. By conducting community conversations, collaborating to provide funding and leadership, and working with residents to help lead education and advocacy efforts, the health care systems and community organizations have developed a sustainable model of community health improvement. By 2013, adult obesity rates decreased from 27% to 23.6% and childhood obesity rates decreased from 25.3% to 23.4%. The Whittier City Council has adopted an ordinance to ensure its 22 parks are smoke-free. After-school programs, including at the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, have implemented an evidence-based physical activity curriculum with 800 youth participants.

Read the complete case study here on This program is one of five led by AHA member hospitals that are being recognized with the 2015 AHA NOVA Award.

The AHA’s Leadership Toolkit for Redefining the H: Engaging Trustees and Communities provides recommendations and insights on how hospital leaders can work with patients, families and diverse community partners to meet the challenges of transforming health care, including guidance on how to host community conversations


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......