Building a Culture of Collaboration Within Multilevel Systems
In our line of work, positive outcomes depend on the careful synergy of multiple systems. Because children’s health is influenced by a great many factors, simultaneously engaging systems at the community, city, state and government level is essential for significant change.
All too often we discover that two state agencies can be closely aligned on their goal, but working independently to reach it. When we work collaboratively instead, we’re able to pool, leverage and reinforce our resources for a common aim—a major benefit when such resources are often extremely limited.
A new e-course—NICHQ’s Essentials of Collaboration—provides strategies for healthy collaboration. One of the first steps is setting a clear aim, so that participants in an improvement project at all system levels know what they are working toward and understand their role in creating change. As we work to unite everyone around a common aim, team leaders should attempt to gain a complete picture of the context under which participants are currently working. Once they have a firm grasp on the specific assets and limitations of each system, leaders can provide teams with the right tools and resources to reach their goal.
When it comes to understanding the nuances of how a system operates, active listening can be incredibly powerful. Active listening is not only helpful in fostering the robust relationships at the heart of healthy collaboration; it may also shed light on the historical context of each system (as well as the areas where various systems intersect). Active listening can also bring about a shift in perspective that allows team leaders to guide collaboration more effectively. Rather than asking how to get participants fully engaged in the improvement process, for instance, we might frame the question as: “What do team members need from us so that they can fulfill their goals?” This subtle distinction helps in adopting a collaborative mindset.
Another key aspect of cultivating healthy collaboration is tuning into each participant’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Pinpointing weak spots can help you anticipate the necessary resources to support the team, while identifying and honoring a team member’s strengths can boost motivation and give projects fuel for long-lasting change. By capitalizing on people’s strengths, you grant them the opportunity to do what they most enjoy. And when people quickly see results from their work, they’re usually inspired to stay committed and even step up their efforts.
Supporting Comprehensive Screening Systems, from Early Childhood through Adolescence
From empowering parents to consolidating data, a statewide, birth to 5 comprehensive early childhood system has powerful potential. A community-based team in Delaware is showing what this might look like. Find out more here.
Treating the Opioid Epidemic as a Children’s Health Crisis
NICHQ's Chief Health Officer shares her experience working with a young mother addicted to opioids, whose story illustrates how the opioid crisis is affecting the health of some of our country’s most vulnerable families.
Strategies for Effective Leadership in Health Improvement Efforts
Effective leadership can make or break a quality improvement effort. And that’s a lot of pressure for any one individual. To help, we’re sharing three key strategies on effective leadership from Gwen Webber-McLeod, president and CEO of Gwen Inc. and expert in leadership development.
Make Perinatal Regionalization Work for Your State
Perinatal regionalization can improve health outcomes for mothers and babies, creating a stronger system of care. But communication and process barriers can get in the way. Here, Dr. Christopher Glantz, MD, MPH, provides strategies for developing a regionalization system that empowers affiliate hospitals as true partners in collaboration.
Launch an Early Childhood Parent Academy
Interested in developing free, accessible lessons that empower parents around early childhood development? An early childhood parent academy—a structured set of courses covering key topic areas that parents need to know about early childhood development—does just that. Click in for a curriculum and strategies on how to launch one in your state.
Keeping Families Together Improves Children’s Health Outcomes, from Borders to Communities
Thousands of children were recently separated from their families on the Texas border. Too many children have undergone the trauma of preventable family separation, which cannot be undone. NICHQ's new Chief Health Officer, Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, has witnessed the devastating effects of caregiver-child separation in communities across the country and across the world. In this article, she speaks up about the harm of that separation and urges us to remain vigilant about keeping families together.