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collective impact - gorge style

In early 2013, community partners began discussing the need to actively and intentionally tie all of this community's work together and pursue funding collaboratively to support the efforts. We focused on the collective impact framework. As with any collective impact initiative, the precise model and results are dependent on the context of local resources.  As a first step to implementing that model, Providence Hood River Hospital committed funds to create and support a Collective Impact Health Specialist position in the community. This position is designed to work across sectors, identify and create alignment in addressing community needs, and secure funding to support those initiatives – in other words, provide backbone support.

collective Impact Model

Originally defined in 2011, the concept of collective impact was first described in a Stanford Social Innovative Review article Collective Impact.  Defined and written by John Kania and Mark Kramer with FSG, the idea of collective impact is that in order for organizations to create lasting solutions to social problems on a large-scale, they need to coordinate their efforts and work together around a clearly defined goal.

The collective impact framework includes 5 key components:

Common Agenda

Collectively defining a problem and creating a shared vision to solve it.

Shared Measurement

Tracking progress toward that common agenda in the same way.

Mutually Reinforcing Activities

Coordinating each partner's efforts to leverage maximum impact on a problem.

Continuous Communication

Clear consistent communication between partners that builds trust, shares outcomes, and strengthens ownership of the efforts among all partners.

Strong Backbone Support

A team dedicated to identifying, driving, and supporting all of the above.

For more thorough information on Collective Impact: Collective Impact Forum

Collective Impact Health Specialist

The Collective Impact Specialist (CIHS) is full-time position funded through a grant from Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital to the United Way of the Columbia Gorge.  The Collective Impact Health Specialist position is designed to identify community health needs utilizing a very broad definition of health, support the development of initiatives to address those needs, and secure funding to support those developing programs. 

Beyond that, the CIHS has helped explain, demonstrate, and develop the model with, and for, community partners. This role provides a level of neutrality, which often helps move discussions beyond entrenched ideas and individual agendas. For example, after securing funds, the Specialist served as Project Manager to develop the first School-Based Health Center in the region – an idea that had been pursued and abandoned for a variety of reasons for many years. 

This position has become invaluable to the overall efforts of creating a healthy community. We are now beginning to expand this position’s role and capacity through more financial and in-kind support, and by including more organizations in the support role such as the United Way of the Columbia Gorge.

Further, as of 8/1/16, the Collective Impact Health Specialist has helped secure more than $2,9 million to support these health initiatives.