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Study: Groups like Montana's CHP help shape community health

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ALEXANDRIA,Va. – The Institute
for Alternative Futures has completed
a new study that identifies how
community health centers are reaching
beyond clinical care to shape the
health of their patients. Community
Health Partners, Park and Gallatin
Counties’ local CHC, was identified
in the study as a leader in trying to
intervene to change patients’ “social
determinants of health.”

“Until we address the root causes of
poor health—social determinants—
we won’t be able to make significant
strides in improving overall health
of the patients and communities we
serve,” said Lander Cooney, CEO of
Community Health Partners.

The IAF study comes after a recent
Robert Wood Johnson Foundationsponsored
poll found that most
physicians recognize the importance
of the patient’s community and social
conditions—also referred to as the
social determinants of health—but
are not confident in their capacity to
address their patients’ social needs
and believe this impedes their ability
to provide quality care.

The efforts identified by the study
address a range of factors, including
youth development; family and
social support; access to legal aid
and healthy foods; adult education;
job skills and employment; physical
activity; community safety, wellbeing,
and involvement; healthy, safe,
and affordable housing; recreational
spaces; and improved air and water
quality in the community.

“The more the health care system can
recognize and affect these factors, the
better the overall community’s health
will be,” Cooney said.

Community Health Partners combines
educational programming with
health care, and provides resource
support for patients. Its adult education
program, Learning Partners
in Livingston, was featured as an
in-depth best practices case study in
the report.

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