Work Together

Photo of hands stacked on top of one another

There are key concepts that can enhance your collaborative work together for greater collective impact. To make the most of time and resources, consider collaborating with other stakeholders including hospitals, health departments, community action agencies, and community health centers rather than working separately. Many such organizations often have their own requirementsExternal for assessing community needs and planning interventions. Imagine the efficiencies that may be gained by working together, pooling resources. Imagine how much greater the results and broader the impact could be from this combined effort. Also, remember that engaging the community is essential to this type of collaboration.

Key Concepts

  • A common agenda and vision for change, including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed-upon actions is shared by all participants
  • Shared accountability and ownership of each stage of the CHI process, with clearly outlined roles and responsibilities for each partner
  • Multi-sector collaboration is pursued throughout the CHI process (e.g., with CHI stakeholders)

Tools for Getting Started

Tools are listed below in an order roughly aligned with the order of the key concept(s) they support above.

  • Vulnerable Populations Footprint External
    • This data-visualization tool can be used to support the initial steps of multi-sector collaboration. It helps a community collaborative map some key area demographics in order to identify areas where they might consider working together, and thus, who to involve based on the geographic area or population of interest. (Note: It requires free registration to log in.)
  • Developing Strategic and Action Plans External
    • Go to the Outline and Example tabs for help in developing a vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plan. Related resources and real-life examples are included.
  • Collective Impact External
    • Go to the Main Section and Checklist tabs for an overview of how to move toward Collective Impact by bringing actors from different sectors together to form a common agenda. It includes links to resources to help improve collective impact, including a checklist for progress and readiness assessments.
  • Collaboration Multiplier External
    • This is an interactive framework and tool for analyzing collaborative efforts across fields. It is designed to help an organization better understand the partners it needs, how to engage them, and how to lay the foundation for shared understanding among partners.

Click here for additional tools related to the key concepts.

Relevant Excerpts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Final Rule
The IRS Final Rule on Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) for Charitable Hospitals Cdc-pdfExternal contains language related to select key concepts above. An excerpt of this language is provided below. To see the full regulation, click on the hyperlinked references below this paragraph.2

“Like the 2013 proposed regulations, the final regulations encourage and facilitate collaboration among hospital facilities by allowing for joint CHNA reports.”3

“While a hospital facility may conduct its CHNA in collaboration with other organizations and facilities (including, but not limited to, related and unrelated hospital organizations and facilities, for-profit and government hospitals, governmental departments, and nonprofit organizations), every hospital facility must document the information described in this paragraph (b)(6) in a separate CHNA report to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section unless it adopts a joint CHNA report as described in paragraph (b)(6)(v) of this section.”4

“However, if a hospital facility is collaborating with other facilities and organizations in conducting its CHNA or if another organization (such as a state or local public health department) has conducted a CHNA for all or part of the hospital facility’s community, portions of the hospital facility’s CHNA report may be substantively identical to portions of a CHNA report of a collaborating hospital facility or other organization conducting a CHNA, if appropriate under the facts and circumstances. For example, if two hospital facilities with overlapping, but not identical, communities are collaborating in conducting a CHNA, the portions of each hospital facility’s CHNA report relevant to the shared areas of their communities might be identical.”5

Note: The above statements do not constitute legal advice or regulatory guidance from CDC. Questions regarding the application of law to a specific circumstance or circumstances should be submitted to an attorney or other qualified legal professional.

Working Together to Address a Community’s Most Pressing Health Issues

The Greater Waterbury Health Improvement Partnership (GWHIP)Cdc-pdfExternal was founded in 2013 in Waterbury, Connecticut with core partners including a health department, health care providers, and a community foundation. The GWHIP has used the CHI Navigator to target their collaborative work in the areas of greatest need. For example, in Spring 2016, the GWHIP launched a Healthy Corner Stores Planning Initiative to address one of their identified health priorities: obesity and nutrition. Coalition members recommended that their partners in this initiative use the Vulnerable Populations Footprint toolExternal, located on the Work Together page, to “target where they’re focusing their efforts”. As one Partnership member noted, mapping is “a useful resource that’s hyperlocal”, and thus can be an effective planning tool to ensure that GWHIP’s efforts reach the most at-risk populations.

Learn more about the Greater Waterbury Health Improvement Partnership by contacting Cynthia Vitone at: 203-573-6679 or cvitone@waterburyct.org.


2Additional Requirements for Charitable Hospitals; Community Health Needs Assessments for Charitable Hospitals; Requirement of a Section 4959 Excise Tax Return and Time for Filing the Return, 79 Fed. Reg. 78,953 (December 31, 2014) (to be codified at 26 C.F.R. pts. 1, 53, and 602), available at IRS Final Rule on Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) for Charitable Hospitals Cdc-pdfExternal .
3 Id. at 78,967.
4 Id. at 79,003.
5 Id.