Europe’s population is aging. At Johnson & Johnson, we recognize that this challenge needs to be addressed from many societal angles, especially considering healthcare provision. As the need for long-term care grows, building stronger community health systems and ensuring that those on the front lines of care, such as nurses and community health workers, as well as unpaid caregivers, can thrive becomes critically important.
Community health plays a vital role in building health systems that value well-being and prevention as much as treatment. Yet, while well-established in many countries around the world, community health models are still only at the start of delivering on their promise in much of Europe.
This is the focus of the new Reimagining Community Health challenge: launched by Ashoka and Johnson & Johnson Foundation, the first Europe-wide challenge to surface pioneers within the community health space. The goal is to identify these innovators, help them grow their impact, and build a community that fosters an enabling environment thereby creating change that can transform healthcare systems.
Working to surface innovation
Drawing on their decades of expertise, Ashoka and Johnson & Johnson Foundation have joined forces to seek system entrepreneurs across Europe who are improving health outcomes within their communities by delivering person-centered healthcare solutions. The challenge is a key component of the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation’s goal to support and champion at least one million nurses, midwives, and community health workers with skills, tools, and growth opportunities by 2030.
“This is the first step in understanding how the health actors of the future are operating successfully here and now,” says Marion Birnstill, Senior Manager of Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson. “How are they putting transformative ideas into practice? How do we learn from them, generate evidence, and build critical mass to shape the future of healthcare systems in Europe?”
Open to non-profit, for-profit or hybrid organizations across Europe, the challenge asked applicants to showcase the community focus and impact of their innovative model, as well as to demonstrate how the model is integrated into the existing health system.
The challenge was designed to seek innovative models across three key focus areas:
- Make novel health interventions – improving health outcomes for individuals either through innovative health practices or access to new or expanded services that support different facets of community health and are integrated with primary care.
- Improve health equity – designing solutions that combat health disparities and improve health outcomes for marginalized communities, through improving specific social and/or environmental determinants, such as social isolation.
- Strengthen community governance and agency – laying the groundwork for new processes and structures between communities, health actors, and systems that will decentralize decision-making and financing and increase agency in communities, as well as promoting co-creation and self-advocacy that leads to improved health outcomes for all.
Supporting the winning changemakers
Each of the 136 applications was reviewed by Johnson & Johnson and Ashoka employees, who have shortlisted 15 finalists. The eight challenge winners will be announced on June 16. Winning changemakers will each receive €50,000, as well as the opportunity to join the leading community of innovators reimagining what Community Health can look like in Europe.
“By making people within communities healthier, the innovations we support will inevitably improve those communities in other ways, making them more livable, equitable and cohesive,” says Ella Goncarova, Global Partnership Manager, Ashoka.