Natural Supports. Natural supports can be defined as personal and community relationships that support health and well being. Natural supports are often overlooked as a key health asset.
Health Services. Health care services include the array of services that may be necessary for preventing and treating disease and disability. These include access to medical care, behavioral health care, dental care, eye care, pharmacy care, hospital care, long-term care, case management, and other clinical health care services.
Community & Social Services. Community & social services include the array of enabling services that may be necessary for sustaining health and accessing health care services. Examples include education, transportation, housing, nutrition, recreation, financial assistance, job supports, and legal supports in addition to state and local social services.
Supportive Environment. A supportive environment is one that supports health and well being for individuals and populations. Environmental settings include the home, the neighborhood, the workplace, and the school. Examples of environmental assets include safe housing, safe neighborhoods, safe streets, safe schools, safe workplaces, safe air and water, access to healthy food, safe spaces for physical activity, and freedom from violence.
Supportive Policy. Supportive policy is essential for enabling health opportunities that are essential for achieving health equity. Supportive policy is important not only in the realms of public health and health care, but also in public safety, education, transportation, housing, social services, employment, community financial services, environmental quality, community development, and economic development.
The Health Opportunity Model can be applied to improve health equity for any community population. Ideally this work is conducted collaboratively to optimize collective impact. The model can be applied using the following process.
- Engage key stakeholders.
- Define the focus population.
- Identify health needs, assets, and gaps in health opportunity that affect health equity.
- Collaborate to increase health opportunity by addressing cultural and structural causes, and connecting population members to appropriate services and supports.
- Strengthen community services, environments, and policies where needed.
- Evaluate and improve the initiative in response to data and feedback from stakeholders.
- Continue working to create and sustain health opportunity through innovative service models, funding models, and policies.
Community Health Solutions provides research, consulting, and learning supports for applying the Health Opportunity Model. Please contact us to learn more.