Cities of Opportunity
Healthy People, Thriving Communities

The Community of Practice complements NLC’s broader Cities of Opportunity (CoO) initiative. CoO provides city leaders, their staffs, and critical partners engagement in peer learning communities, such as the CoP, to build capacity to address the factors that affect how well and long we live. NLC’s vision of Cities of Opportunity are places where residents reach their full potential and live healthy lives.

As we know, in cities across America, the life expectancies of residents who live a few miles apart—sometimes blocks apart—vary by as much as five, ten or even twenty years. Multiple factors– income, education, housing, transit, family and social supports, and community safety – play a role in how long and how well we live. Historical policies and present-day, many disproportionately affecting communities of color, challenge the ability of residents to live fulfilling lives. City leaders are positioned to address these factors comprehensively and create thriving communities for all.

The new Cities of Opportunity Cities & Health Systems Community of Practice, a partnership between the Public Health Institute (PHI) and the National League of Cities (NLC), is a new learning community for up to 12 cities offering in-depth assistance focused on fostering alignment and collaboration between cities and health systems. In the wake of COVID-19, the aim of this effort is to ensure robust city and health system partnerships to improve health outcomes and advance equity.

What is the purpose of this effort? The goal of the initiative is for city leaders to partner with their health systems peers to advance shared goals to ensure better health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Through the Community of Practice, they will access technical assistance services and peer to peer learning opportunities to support these partnerships.

Why City and Health System Partnerships? The root causes of poor health, or the factors influencing how well we live and how long we live, lead to concentrated inequities resulting in significant differences in the quality and length of life. Root causes are social and economic, they relate to access to healthy, affordable food, reliable transportation, hazard-free living conditions, and access to clean air and water among other factors.

The stark contrasts of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 and racism pandemics across communities increase the urgency to contend with these root causes before the inequities they cause deepen further. To achieve this, city leaders and their health system peers need to collaborate to tackle these complex problems.

What is available to city teams participating in the Community of Practice? Each city team will receive expert coaching and technical assistance to support their city-specific goals to advance stronger partnerships with health system stakeholders. Through expert guided monthly-sessions, a select group of city leaders and key partners, will join this endeavor to strengthen existing partnerships aligned by shared values and priorities with a specific focus on COVID-related impacts.

Who is this for and what is the time commitment? The 12-month program is scheduled to begin October 2020 and requires a commitment from senior leadership for ongoing participation. Ideal program participants are from cities who have identified engaging healthcare institutions as a strategic partnership priority and/or have had some experience or need, to better engage healthcare institutions in collaborative efforts to advance community health improvement efforts.

Benefits of joining the CoP include:

  • Access to CoO resources, tools, alumni, and faculty
  • Access to Center to Advance Community Health and Equity (CACHE)team resources and expertise
  • Opportunity to present and share insights and learnings with other CoO learning community members
  • Peer exchange
  • In-person meet-ups at NLC convenings

For current information on the current Community of Practice, please click here


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