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The Practical Playbook II, Chapter 35: The Role of Community Development as a Partner in Health

Written by Douglas Jutte, MD, MPH on May 21, 2019

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More jumbles of letters: LIHTC, NMTC, CRA, AMI, TOD, HFFI, HFAs, CDFIs, CDCs (no, not that CDC). What do any of them have to do with health?

This chapter describes the work—and the jargon—of the community development sector, a vast, financially savvy, mission-driven industry that tackles poverty in our most under-resourced neighborhoods. In doing so, this sector also improves the health of vulnerable communities through interventions addressing important social determinants that underlie the enormous health inequities we see across cities, regions, and the country as a whole.

The importance of this potential collaboration cannot be overstated. In the United States, we currently spend at least $3.5 trillion per year on health care. More than 85% of those resources are spent on chronic disease, and we know that a substantial portion of chronic disease is preventable, linked to poverty, and concentrated in low-income communities. This translates to at least $1 trillion spent annually on avoidable chronic disease among residents of low-income neighborhoods. These are precisely the places where community development invests its time, resources, and expertise tackling many of the determinants of poor health.


Chapter 35: The Role of Community Development as a Partner in Health


About the Author

Douglas Jutte, MD, MPH

Douglas Jutte, MD, MPH is Executive Director of the Build Healthy Places Network, a national organization with the mission to shift the way organizations work across the health, community development, and finance sectors to collectively advance equity, reduce poverty, and improve health in neighborhoods across the United States.