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David Zuckerman

Director, Healthcare Engagement

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.

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:
  • Why These Hospitals Have Promised $700 Million for Affordable Housing and More

    Jared Brey
    Next City

    As the links between physical health and community wealth and vitality become clearer all the time, fourteen regional and national health systems are coming together to commit at least $700 million to investments in affordable housing and economic development in the cities where they’re located. The commitment by the Healthcare Anchor Network, a project of the nonprofit research and advocacy organization Democracy Collaborative, will direct the wealth and resources of some of the largest employers in a number of U.S. states to local development projects. The goal of the effort is for health centers to invest in the health of their communities beyond the care they provide inside hospitals, says Dave Zuckerman, director of the Healthcare Anchor Network.

  • 'Good neighbors'? U.S. hospitals invest in land, housing to treat crisis

    Carey L. Biron
    Reuters

    Community land trusts are on the rise across the United States as cities look for ways to ease an ongoing crisis of affordable housing. But the Maggie Walker land trust in Richmond, Virginia is unusual in how it was created: It was funded in large part by a hospital system, Bon Secours Mercy Health. This month, Bon Secours was one of 14 healthcare systems across the United States that committed to over $700 million in “place-based” investments, with a primary goal being the development of affordable housing. They are all part of a group called the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN), a project of the Washington-based research group Democracy Collaborative.

  • Why hospitals want to invest in affordable housing

    Patrick Sisson
    Curbed

    The Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) believes better housing is a great investment in health and community wellness. By attacking the racial disparities in communities across the country—as well as the other root problems that influence health outcomes—with a holistic, long-term approach, the HAN hopes to ultimately improve local economies and create a healthier population that requires less emergency and acute care. “We’re trying to think about this as a strategy,” says David Zuckerman, director of the Healthcare Anchor Network. “It isn’t a one-time check to the community. This should be one of the ways health systems go back to improving health and wellbeing for the entire community.”

  • RWJBarnabas joins 13 health systems to announce over $700M in investments

    Anthony Vecchione
    NJBIZ

    Fourteen hospitals and health systems, including RWJBarnabas Health, announced on Wednesday a commitment of over $700 million for place-based investing to create strong and healthy communities. “At RWJBarnabas Health, our mission is to create healthier communities,” said Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health. "As an anchor institution, we have a moral obligation to address the social and economic inequalities that plague our neighbors, particularly those who are most vulnerable,” said Ostrowsky. 

  • RWJBarnabas Health part of group announcing $700M pledge toward community health

    ROI-NJ Staff
    ROI-NJ

    RWJBarnabas Health was one of 14 hospitals and health systems nationwide to announce Wednesday a commitment of over $700 million for place-based investing to create strong and healthy communities. “In the last two-and-a-half years, the HAN members have moved forward to collaborate on strategies and to align their business operations to tackle the structural and economic drivers of poor health through place-based investing, as well as through local, inclusive hiring and procurement,” Healthcare Anchor Network Director Dave Zuckerman said. “Anchor mission work utilizes and leverages local community resources to address jobs, training, small business support and equitable community development. It’s individual and community wealth building.”

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