Building Healthy Communities

Grantee Name

Cornell University Weill Cornell Medical College

Funding Area

Building Healthy Communities

Publication Date

February 2017

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

August 2014 – June 2015

There has been increasing attention to the concept of population health—the health of all the people in a geographic community.

Population health comprises more than medical care; it also includes factors such as socioeconomic status, the built environment, and education. Hospitals and accountable care organizations can play important roles as key drivers of population health, but medical professionals often have a much narrower definition of this concept. Creating a common definition of population health is essential both to assess the extent to which hospitals are working to improve population health and understand what resources are (or are not) being allocated to this important work.

In 2014, NYHealth awarded Weill Cornell Medical College a grant to gather and analyze information on the current and future role of New York State hospitals in improving population health.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Reviewed nearly 60 community service plans from New York State hospitals to learn how they addressed behavioral lifestyle factors to prevent chronic disease;
  • Interviewed hospital and community leaders in the State, national community population health experts, and leaders of out-of-state hospitals that have innovative community-based population health programs;
  • Provided examples of innovative partnerships among hospitals, local organizations, and public health agencies that address nonmedical determinants of community-based population health;
  • Identified barriers (e.g., fee-for-service payment system or lack of a demonstrable return on investment) and facilitators (e.g., leadership with a strong understanding of community health determinants) to hospitals’ involvement in programs impacting community-based population health; and
  • Published its findings and recommendations in the report, “The Role of Hospitals in Improving Non-Medical Determinants of Community Population Health” and in a Health Affairs blog post.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A