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David Zuckerman

Manager, Healthcare Engagement

David Zuckerman joined The Democracy Collaborative team in 2012 and serves as Manager for Healthcare Engagement. David leads the coordination of the Healthcare Anchor Network—a health system-led collaboration focused on improving community health and well-being by building inclusive and sustainable local economies. The Network includes more than 25 health systems to date.

David is the co-author of the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities toolkit series. His work focuses on inclusive and equitable economic development strategies that build wealth in low-income communities, with specific attention on how hospitals and health systems can deploy the business side of their institutions to support community health improvement and strengthen their local economies.

David is also the author of Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission and a contributor to Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities. He is the lead author of a National Academy of Medicine discussion paper, Building a Culture of Health at the Federal Level. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Consumer Health Foundation.

Selected Publications: 

Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities: Inclusive, Local Hiring

David Zuckerman and Katie Parker

Every day, we learn more about how patients’ health outcomes are tied not only to the healthcare they receive but also to the conditions in the communities where they live. Social and economic inequities, amplified by race, often emerge as the leading factors explaining differences in health outcomes and life expectancies.

Through local and inclusive hiring, health systems can invest in an ecosystem of success that lifts up local residents; helps create career pathways for low-income, minority, and hard-to-employ populations; and begins to transform neighborhoods. In the process, health systems can develop a more efficient workforce pipeline, meet sustainability and inclusion goals, and ultimately improve the health of their communities. Establishing a local and inclusive hiring strategy is an important first step towards rethinking your health system’s role in the community. This toolkit can help you get started.

Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission

David Zuckerman, with contributions from Holly Jo Sparks, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard

The Democracy Collaborative’s latest report, Hospitals Building Healthier Communities, provides an in-depth look at six hospitals in five cities that are rethinking their economic and community engagement strategies. These hospitals have recognized that health is more than just treating the patients that come through their doors and are beginning to adopt an “anchor institution mission” that can help build not only more prosperous, but also healthier communities.

Going outside the hospital walls to improve health

Gar Alperovitz and David Zuckerman
Baltimore Sun

Study after study demonstrates that poverty is a powerful driver of poor health. Many of America's leading hospitals exist in poor communities. Could these powerful institutions (in economic as well as medical terms) help overcome the deeper sources of failing health among the 46 million Americans living in poverty?

A little-known provision of Obamacare provides an unexpected opening.

Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris

Healthcare’s role in creating healthy communities through increasing access to quality care, research, and grantmaking is being complemented by a higher impact approach; hospitals and integrated health systems are increasingly stepping outside of their walls to address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, shortened lives, and higher costs in the first place.  

Recent blog posts:
  • Case Study: Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH)

    David Zuckerman
    Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission

    Despite Cleveland Clinic’s global presence, the vast majority of the system’s operations are based in Ohio, where the system is the largest employer in the northeast part of the state and second largest in the state. Cleveland Clinic’s main campus alone employs more than 26,000 people, has revenues of nearly $4 billion, and procures more than $1.5 billion in goods and services annually. In recent years, it has adopted a variety of anchor strategies, including shifting a percentage of procurement locally and to minority-owned businesses, participating as an anchor partner in a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort, implementing childhood wellness programming in local school districts, and positioning itself as a leader in sustainability.

  • Case Study: University Hospitals (Cleveland, OH)

    David Zuckerman
    Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission

    University Hospitals System comprises the 1032-bed, former academic medical center of Case Western Reserve University, and six community hospitals across Northeast Ohio. The system employs more than 24,000 people and generates revenues in excess of $2 billion annually. A key initiative has been University Hospital’s Vision 2010 project, a $1.2 billion, five-year strategic growth plan that started in 2006. As part of Vision 2010, University Hospitals set separate goals to procure from local, minority- and women- owned businesses, and actively aimed to create new supplier capacity within the city. It also hired a third party to hold it accountable, voluntarily entered into a unique Project Labor Agreement, and has now started to apply this vision to its entire supply chain purchasing. Further still, University Hospitals is involved in other job creation and wealth building initiatives in the community.

  • Case Study: Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI)

    David Zuckerman
    Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission
    Anchored by the 802-bed Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Henry Ford Health System has revenues of more than $4.2 billion, employs more than 10,000 people within the city and procures more than $650 million from its Detroit institutions. Henry Ford actively recognizes its position as an anchor institution, working with many partners to increase its impact in the community. Through a multi-institution partnership, Henry Ford has coordinated with Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University to help revitalize Midtown Detroit by encouraging their employees to live, work, and invest in the same community. It has also helped found a local business incubator at Wayne State, set active goals to procure from local and diverse suppliers, and used its purchasing power to persuade suppliers to relocate to Detroit. Further still, Henry Ford has helped finance education partnerships for high-risk youth, is focused on acquiring and rehabilitating reclaimed properties, and has helped push local infrastructure improvements.

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