A framework for cross-sector partnerships to address childhood adversity and improve life course health

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Liu, Patrick Y.
Beck, Andrew F.
Lindau, Stacy Tessler
Holguin, Monique
Kahn, Robert S.
Fleegler, Eric
Henize, Adrienne W.
Halfon, Neal
Schickedanz, Adam
American Academy of Pediatrics
May 2022
Abstract / Description

Childhood adversity and its structural causes drive lifelong and intergenerational inequities in health and well-being. Health care systems increasingly understand the influence of childhood adversity on health outcomes but cannot treat these deep and complex issues alone. Cross-sector partnerships, which integrate health care, food support, legal, housing, and financial services among others, are becoming increasingly recognized as effective approaches address health inequities. What principles should guide the design of cross-sector partnerships that address childhood adversity and promote Life Course Health Development (LCHD)? The complex effects of childhood adversity on health development are explained by LCHD concepts, which serve as the foundation for a cross-sector partnership that optimizes lifelong health. We review the evolution of cross-sector partnerships in health care to inform the development of an LCHD-informed partnership framework geared to address childhood adversity and LCHD. This framework outlines guiding principles to direct partnerships toward life course–oriented action: (1) proactive, developmental, and longitudinal investment; (2) integration and codesign of care networks; (3) collective, community and systemic impact; and (4) equity in praxis and outcomes. Additionally, the framework articulates foundational structures necessary for implementation: (1) a shared cross-sector theory of change; (2) relational structures enabling shared leadership, trust, and learning; (3) linked data and communication platforms; and (4) alternative funding models for shared savings and prospective investment. The LCHD-informed cross-sector partnership framework presented here can be a guide for the design and implementation of cross-sector partnerships that effectively address childhood adversity and advance health equity through individual-, family-, community-, and system-level intervention. (author abstract) 


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