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BUILD Health Challenge featured in journal article co-authored by Folkerth

Sep 15, 2020

In 2017 Interact for Health became a funder in the BUILD Health Challenge, a funding collaborative that brings together local nonprofit organizations, hospitals and health systems, and local health departments to improve the health of their communities.

Now a peer-reviewed article in Foundation Review examines how BUILD works, the successes and challenges it has faced, and what it has accomplished.

"Participating in the BUILD Health Challenge allowed us the opportunity to connect with national and regional funders across the country and brought attention to the great work of our partners in Greater Cincinnati," said Interact for Health Senior Program Officer Megan Folkerth, a co-author of the article.

Several national and regional foundations established the BUILD Health Challenge in 2014. It supports bold, upstream, integrated, local and data-driven community health interventions that address social determinants of health.

The article's authors note that BUILD's speed, flexibility and reach have helped it succeed. The collaborative also allowed national and regional funders to learn from one another. National funders gained insight into what works locally. Regional funders benefited from the evaluation, strategy development and due diligence structures of their national partners.

In 2017, BUILD awarded partnerships in Avondale and Northern Kentucky $250,000 each for two years.

  • In Avondale, The Community Builders, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Cincinnati Health Department worked to create an environment in which Avondale children up to age 6 could thrive. The group used a health champion model, going door to door to connect and build trust with families. At the community level, it introduced access to fresh produce and smoke-free housing.
  • In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, Interact for Health, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, Three Rivers District Health Department and the Center for Great Neighborhoods worked to reduce tobacco use in Covington and Gallatin County. In the group's "Quit for Good" campaign, local pharmacies offered two weeks of free nicotine replacement to people trying to quit smoking.

"The Northern Kentucky group developed a successful marketing campaign to get nicotine replacement therapy distributed throughout the community," Folkerth said. "This led to the redemption of more than 1,200 vouchers leading the many quit attempts throughout Covington and Gallatin County."

To learn more about the BUILD Health Challenge, read "Is More Always Better? A Reflection on the Dynamic Nature of Nationally and Regionally Focused Funder Collaboratives" in Foundation Review.

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