Manager, Communications and Policy
Building Community Well-being by Leveraging the Economic Impact of Health Systems
Local communities face systematically deepening disparities in economic, health, and well-being outcomes. Nurses are increasingly leading initiatives to positively impact the social determinants of health in local communities. This article describes how to use the enormous economic impact of hospitals and health systems as anchor institutions embedded in local communities. By leveraging the everyday business practices of hospitals and health systems, such as hiring, purchasing, and investing, nurses can help to transform the economic and consequent health well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals and neighborhoods. Hiring, purchasing, and investing in nearby neighborhoods build community wealth through both gainful employment and subsequent recirculation of money locally. Improving the economic viability of the local community positively impacts concomitant social determinants of health. Nurses, with their experience and expertise in collaboration and communication with diverse stakeholder and with their high ranking as the most trusted profession, are natural leaders to build community networks and partnerships that promote community transformation for well-being.