Developed by Seabourne Consulting, experts in The Surgeon General Connects Community Health and Economic Prosperity

The Surgeon General Connects Community Health and Economic Prosperity

photo by Woldai Wagner on Unsplash


In January 2021, then Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams released a new priority called Community Health and Economic Prosperity: Engaging Businesses as Stewards and Stakeholders—A Report of the Surgeon General (CHEP for short). This is the first priority report of its kind because it focuses on community health from an economic standpoint and gives weight to unequal economic opportunities as a driver of personal and community health. 


CHEP is significant and encouraging to the healthy communities movement. One of the roles of the U.S. Surgeon General is to provide the country with the best scientific information available on how to improve health, and reports are considered “landmark publications that identify and shape the science and culture of our public health.” Some of them are designated priorities—like the CHEP report—which are presented as critical public health issues. 


Having the Surgeon General publicly recognize that the conditions in which we live affect our physical health and that the business community has an important role to play in equitably improving those conditions  is an important step forward for the healthy communities movement. “CHEP is the concept that community health and economic prosperity are inextricably linked. When community health is poor, so is community prosperity. We can’t have one without the other,” said Surgeon General Adams. 



The U.S. Health Disadvantage: Implications for Businesses and Employers

Referencing The Seven Vital Conditions throughout, the report focuses on engaging business leaders in recognizing these Conditions and give examples of policies and practices that benefit both community health and business economics. This includes fully understanding the impact business decisions have on things like housing, transportation, and a thriving, resilient natural world. 



Businesses Have an Interest in Improving the Vital Conditions for Health, Wealth and Well-being


CHEP puts stakeholders at the heart of getting this work done. The following actions are recommended to strengthen community health and economic prosperity, develop a competitive business advantage, and build resilience for both community and business. These strategies can help address the U.S. health disadvantage and help to ensure that the vital conditions are met for all Americans.


Report Recommendations

  • Learn More About Your Stakeholders
  • Foster a Culture of Stewardship
  • Develop Strategic Cross-Sector Partnerships
  • Measure Performance Using Meaningful Indicators of Community Health and Well-Being


Resources from the Report


Community Commons has put together collections of resources, tools, and stories of community success that speak directly to the four recommendations. Use them to engage your business community as strategic partners to strengthen community health. 


We also reference Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and Resilience in Communities Across America as another report that focused on bringing together stakeholders to help American recover in the wake of COVID-19 and secure the vital conditions that all people and places need to thrive.


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Community Health and Economic Prosperity: A Digest of the Surgeon General’s Report for Business Leaders
Resource - Report
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Community Health and Economic Prosperity: An Initiative of the Office of the Surgeon General
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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Why Is the U.S. Health Disadvantage Important to Businesses?
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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What Can Businesses Do to Help Address the U.S. Health Disadvantage?
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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How Can Businesses Engage with Communities?
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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What Is the U.S. Health Disadvantage?
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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What Causes the U.S. Health Disadvantage?
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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Who Can Businesses Work With to Strengthen Community Health and Economic Prosperity?
Resource - Fact Sheet
Brought to you by Office of the Surgeon General of the United States
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The U.S. Health Disadvantage: Implications for Businesses and Employers
Resource - Webinar
Brought to you by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Learn More About Your Stakeholders

“Stakeholders are all those who participate in a business and are essential to its success—including everyone from employees to suppliers to investors. Valuing the needs and interests of all stakeholders, and avoiding prioritizing one stakeholder at the expense of another, helps ensure success. Society and stakeholders likewise depend on businesses—for jobs, goods and services, and tax revenue and to bring innovations to the market. Paying attention to these interdependencies and delivering value to multiple stakeholders can help a business succeed.”

-CHEP full report p.153-154


Before true and meaningful community change can occur, before we can ever get to plans that outline problems and root causes, and present real, tangible solutions and outcomes, dialogue has to underpin the entire process. Without dialogue, the most vulnerable and underserved voices get lost in the shuffle or completely overlooked. But with dialogue, the pathway to well-being for all becomes possible. Read more


Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and  Resilience in Communities Across America p.251


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Listen: The Community Engagement Toolkit
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Brought to you by Enterprise
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Community Tool Box: Increasing Participation and Membership
Tool
Brought to you by KU Center for Community Health and Development: Community Tool Box
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Engagement Tool and Resource Repository
Tool
Brought to you by PCORI


Foster a Culture of Stewardship

"System stewardship is the role of enterprises and organizations in solving problems that government alone cannot solve. The U.S. health disadvantage is such a problem, with roots in community conditions, inequality, and opportunity gaps. Stewards of systems will address these causes at a systems level: policy, taxation, investment, education, environment, healthcare, and more." -CHEP full report p.155


"Businesses that engage in this kind of stewardship, using data to identify the people and places to engage, the best interventions to deploy, and the sharpest measures to assess impact, have the opportunity to be leaders and influencers improving the health of employees, families, and communities and influencing broader societal conditions in a community, region, and whole country." -CHEP full report p.124


Stewardship is defined as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” When applied to the collective work to advance healthy, equitable, sustainable communities, the concept describes leaders—businesses, people, and organizations—who take responsibility for forming working relationships to drive transformative change in regions and communities. Importantly, stewards within the context of our work to improve communities must have a vested interest in promoting an equity orientation in regard to purpose, power, and wealth. 


We typically see stewardship having the greatest impact as a mechanism for shared responsibility and collective action; when the work has expanded, aligned breadth and depth, and in turn, expanded reach and impact. Read more


Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and  Resilience in Communities Across America p.9


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Module 4: Acting as Stewards - Communities WIN
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 01/22/2020
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Stewardship
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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All-America City Award Finalists: Stewardship in Action
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
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A Brief History of Stewarding Health, Wealth, and Well-Being
Resource
Brought to you by ReThink Health
Published on 10/06/2019

Develop Strategic Cross-Section Partnerships

“Because no single sector can realize this vision in isolation, the transformation requires investments and partnerships across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Nationwide, this transformative work of aligning financial resources from across organizations to address unmet vital conditions is already underway through the field of “community development.” Actors working in this field are essential partners for businesses seeking to engage with and invest in communities.” —CHEP full report p.62


Anchor institutions are entities that are important, long-term fixtures in a community and take some responsibility for that community's successful development. They may be non-profit organizations—such as universities, hospitals, and school systems—and can also be  large corporations, government centers, military bases, or sports teams. 


We should care about anchor institutions and their role in health because of the power and responsibility they carry. Anchors control large amounts of community capital and can influence the kind of employment options available, what medical care benefits are provided, or the reach of public transportation.


The concept of anchor institutions has been around for over a decade, but the idea of what it truly means to be a strong anchor in a community and the development of a driving anchor mission is new to many organizations. A growing number of successful anchors with proven methods and missions are emerging in the field and offer tools to help others realize their level of influence and responsibility. Read more


Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and  Resilience in Communities Across America p.178


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Creating Jobs by Building Community Wealth
Story - Video
Brought to you by The Democracy Collaborative
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Community Wealth Building Tools: Anchor Institutions
Tool
Brought to you by The Democracy Collaborative
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How to Grow an Equitable Economy through Anchor Institution Strategies
Story - Video
Brought to you by The Democracy Collaborative
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Staff Pick!
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Democracy Collaborative: Community Wealth-Building Cities
Resource - Case Study
Brought to you by The Democracy Collaborative

Measure Performance Using Meaningful Indicators

“ Data-driven approaches offer businesses and employers a pathway to make broader improvements and measure their contributions to that improvement, while understanding their current engagement in the context of an even larger ecosystem of communities and society." —CHEP full report p.124


"Businesses use data for their operations but often overlook the use of data to understand the impact of their business on the health, wealth, and well-being of employees, customers, and communities. A data-driven approach to community engagement and investment can help businesses identify strategies that (a) create a healthier workforce and more prosperous communities and (b) monitor their progress in achieving specific outcomes; and Offers businesses and employers a pathway to make broader improvements and measure theircontributions and returns in the context of the larger ecosystem of communities and society." —CHEP full report p.115


There are a few important things to consider when implementing an effective measurement systemthat can make a big difference:

  • Develop and agree upon a measurement framework upfront. Creating a simple list of indicators and how the indicators work together to address health needs can be a game changer. 
  • Build a flexible framework that allows partners to track unique measures that their work is likely to address. Although it’s important to agree upon a framework upfront, that doesn’t mean there can’t be differences in what each partner tracks.
  • Make it easy for partners to contribute their data through your measurement tool/process. Consistent, timely data upload should be part of the agreed-upon measurement system, and it should be intuitive and simple for partners to do.
  • Data reports should be digestible and visible to all partners to see how the work is going and how they can adjust programming to improve outcomes.  Read more


Thriving Together: A Springboard for Equitable Recovery and  Resilience in Communities Across America p.66


Staff Pick!
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IP3 | Assess
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Brought to you by IP3
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Wellbeing in the Nation (WIN) Measurement Framework
Resource - Report
Brought to you by 100MHL
Published on 06/04/2019
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Measure What Matters
Tool
Brought to you by IHI
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Deep Dive: Measurement, Learning & Evaluation
Resource
Brought to you by Well Being Trust
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MeasureUp
Tool
Brought to you by Build Healthy Places Network
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Success Measures Data System
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Brought to you by Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation