Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

Fourteen health systems, that are the largest private-sector employers in their states, have committed more than $700 million in place-based investment to help address the root causes of poor health.

These hospitals and health systems are in an ideal position to address disparities in environmental, racial and economic resources that impact health outcomes because they are the economic engines and the leading employers in their communities. They are members of the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) and together they have more than $100 billion in investment assets, purchase more than $50 billion annually and employ more than 1.5 million people.

A study conducted New York University found very large life expectancy gaps in 56 of the biggest cities in the U.S. where people in one neighborhood can have a 20-30 years longer life expectancy compared to their neighbors just a few miles away. There are factors outside the health system that affect health outcomes. These include environmental, economic, social and behavior-related factors.

To address these issues, the 14 hospitals and health systems plan to invest in the development of small and diverse businesses, federally-qualified health centers, childcare centers, affordable housing, grocery stores in food deserts and other strategies that address the social determinants of community health outcomes.

The health systems that made the investment commitment are UMass Memorial Health Care, Henry Ford Health System, Advocate Aurora Health, Trinity Health, Einstein Healthcare Network, Anchorum St. Vincent, RWJBarnabas Health, Kaiser Permanente, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Rush University Medical Center, Intermountain Healthcare, Boston Medical Center, ProMedica and CommonSpirit Health.