Chair Files

Listening, Linking and Leveraging to Improve Community Health

The 2017 chair files will begin highlighting efforts that are improving community health beyond traditional hospital walls. The first of these vignettes from the upcoming "The Next Generation of Community Health" report is on the Children’s Health System of Texas, based in Dallas, and how they are addressing the social determinants of health. In 2012, this system established the Health and Wellness Alliance for Children to improve health and well-being of families challenged by poverty and issues related to transportation, employment, environment and nutrition. A major focus was tackling childhood asthma in the area. The Alliance participated in two “deep listening” activities in the community—listening to more than 200 families about their attitudes and values about health and family well-being and to community organizations that serve children and families. After emergency department data reinforced results from this qualitative research, the Alliance developed a community systems map for childhood asthma that led to an “asthma wellness equation” viewed from the lens of children and families. The Alliance has linked community, public health, philanthropic, educational, environmental, social, government and clinical programs in a systematic and comprehensive way. As a result, the number of unique patients visiting the Children’s Health ED with a primary diagnosis of asthma has decreased 49% in three years. The health system learned that integrating community services with clinical delivery services through a family’s “trusted agents” was critical for family engagement. Next steps include continuing to decrease the burden of childhood asthma and leveraging the Alliance’s experience and partnerships to improve childhood weight management.

For more information, contact Peter Roberts, population health management and insurance services, at


Additional Resources

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