Happy 2022! This new year represents a new chapter—and a new opportunity—for HealthBegins and for all of us working to advance health equity through the Upstream Movement.
Since 2012, our work has always been shaped by two fundamental beliefs: (1) that you can’t move upstream to address social and structural determinants of health without also understanding and centering equity, and (2) that you can’t advance health equity without addressing its social and structural drivers, i.e., without moving upstream. Upstream improvement and health equity are inextricably linked. Among the vanguard in health care, public health, and the social sector, this principle is so widely recognized now that it’s almost unnecessary to state, and we’re proud to have helped fuel that awareness.
That broad awareness brings us all a crucial opportunity. With this blossoming of more organizations and leaders eager to act on those core beliefs, we recognize that we’re entering a new chapter, where the movements to advance health equity and move upstream can—and must—go wide and deep together. We must now bring the lessons of our collective experience to a much larger scale, to amplify the power and impact of our health equity efforts.
So HealthBegins is excited to announce the next new chapter in our work—and share the goals that we believe will help us meet this moment. As more leaders understand the need to center health equity in upstream work, and look for ways to advance health equity by moving upstream, many more are reaching out to us for ways to do that well. In simple terms, here’s how we aim to help:
- Go wide: HealthBegins has spent years building bespoke upstream trainings for flagship healthcare organizations and associations across the country. We’ve learned which training practices and processes are the most helpful in those contexts (for example: we pioneered the use of a particular kind of continuous learning and improvement approach, called Upstream Quality Improvement, in pursuit of health equity). We will now leverage that experience to make those lessons accessible to a much wider set of institutions, small and large. So this year, you’ll see us offer a host of new learning opportunities accessible to everyone, through online courses, learning sprints, educational events, and learning collaboratives that anyone can plug into—all adding up to more opportunities for people to move forward faster and with more support on the journey upstream.
- Go deep: In our strategy consulting, we consistently help clients in the broader ecosystem of health and health care to improve outcomes and achieve objectives by addressing not only individual social needs but also the broader social and structural drivers of health inequity. While we will continue that work nationally, we intend now to go deep in certain regions and states—effectively amplifying our effects by place. To do this, we will collaborate with our clients and partners to mobilize and support place-, equity-, and value-based improvement campaigns in geographic health equity zones. Through this initiative, you’ll see us work with partners and cross-sector leaders to link three critical pieces of infrastructure for upstream transformation—payments (see our recent comments on equity- and place-based payment reform here), partnerships, and policy.
Those are HealthBegins’ goals this year, writ large. More importantly, what are yours? And can we help you achieve them?
We’d love to hear from you: What are your priorities? And what do you think about ours? We’d be so grateful if you complete this short survey by Jan 28. Let us know how well our goals align with yours, and how we can best help you in meeting them. As we enter this new year and this new chapter together, your feedback will help us understand how best to support you in our shared mission to advance health equity and move upstream.
Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH.