David Zuckerman joined The Democracy Collaborative team in 2012 and serves as Director 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 40 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 as Treasurer on the Board of Trustees for the Consumer Health Foundation.
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.
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.
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.
This report, prepared by the Democracy Collaborative and submitted to the City of Jacksonville, Florida, highlights key strategic opportunities to leverage existing assets to build wealth in a neighborhood facing concentrated poverty and disinvestment.
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.
- Grantmakers in Health
Health care institutions, as anchors in their communities, have the opportunity to meaningfully invest in their communities. Local investments have the potential to help in the creation of a new, democratic economy.
- Grantmakers in Health - Views from the Field
When health care systems invest in the provision of social determinants of health, including affordable housing and walkable neighborhoods, they produce long-term returns by way of better health and lower health care costs. The Democracy Collaborative's Healthcare Anchor Network aims to help healthcare groups understand how best to use their assets at the benefit of the community.
"Buying locally. Offering job training. Investing in budding businesses. Medical schools and teaching hospitals increasingly collaborate with local communities to improve health and help cure economic ills...."
- The Wharton Health Care Quarterly
A growing number of forward-thinking healthcare anchor institutions have taken up an “Anchor Mission” to realign all institutional resources to fight long-standing inequities at their root by building community wealth.