About the Award
The Future of Population Health Award recognizes exemplary practice by hospitals and health systems that are collaborating witih governmental health agencies and other community partners on health improvement strategies and implementation efforts. The Public Health Foundation (PHF) established this award to encourage hospitals and health systems to address effectively the upstream causes of population health challenges outside the hospital walls, and celebrate innovative, ambitious, and impactful local partnerships that emerge from those efforts. Working with hospitals, health systems, governmental public health agencies, and community partners nationwide for decades, PHF has observed groundbreaking practices to improve health outcomes. The Future of Population Health Award highlights these achievements and the brilliant leaders and organizations that are transforming the health of their communities for a better tomorrow.
Who is Eligible?
For a hospital or health system to be eligible for the award, its health improvement strategy and implementation effort must meet the following criteria:
- Be ongoing in the community (cannot be a past program or one that is no longer operational);
- Be led or co-led by a local hospital or health system;
- Address a health challenge that was identified in a community health needs assessment or similar local assessment within the past three years;
- Take an innovative, upstream approach to making measureable improvement on a health challenge; and
- Be a partnership that includes at least one governmental health agency in customizing and implementing an innovative strategy to address a health challenge (other local organizations may also be part of the initiative).
Examples of initiatives that reflect the spirit of the Future of Population Health Award include:
- Making nutritious food more accessible by building a grocery store in a community that has a food desert and including nutrition consultations as a service to consumers.
- Improving identification and management of depression utilizing a standardized screening tool across providers in the community.
- Improving diabetes management and monitoring by providing transportation to and instruction in a structured fitness regimen.
- Reducing addiction relapse by refurbishing old buildings to create stable housing for the homeless.
A panel including experts in public health, healthcare, and population health will evaluate award applications.
- WellSpan Health (York, PA) and Kevin A. Alvarnaz, Director, Community Health & Wellness
- INTEGRIS Health (Oklahoma City, OK) and Stephen Petty, Corporate Director, Community Health Improvement
Frequently Asked Questions
Why must a hospital or health system lead or co-lead the initiative?
The purpose of this award program is to encourage and celebrate particularly effective partnerships that address the upstream causes of health challenges outside the hospitals walls, and in which hospitals or health systems play a leadership role. Therefore, while another organization may have initiated or co-led the effort, the applicant’s leadership at all stages must be evident.
Can the initiative include more than one hospital?
Yes. However, only one hospital or health system can be the lead for the health improvement initiative that is the focus of the award application.
What are the selection criteria?
Factors considered in the selection of awardees include (not in order of priority):
- A strategy that addresses root causes and upstream influences (i.e., the social determinants of health) related to an identified health improvement goal
- Substantive participation by diverse community partners (including at least one governmental health agency) in both planning and implementation efforts
- Ambitiousness of the program’s goals
- Thoughtful adaptation of evidenced-based or promising practices to address the health challenge
- Objectively measured accomplishments
- Use of performance management to facilitate continuous improvement
- Potential for sustainability, growth, and replication
Use the practice application to prepare your responses.
What is meant by “population health” in the title of the award? Is this different from “community health?”
For the purposes of this award, “population health” refers to the health status of a defined population in the community. Examples include:
- Residents of a geographic area
- Members of a specific demographic group in a community
- Individuals in the community at increased risk for a specific health problem
The term “community health” generally equates to the first bullet above (akin to public health’s use of the term “population health”), but specific initiatives can logically narrow to just the second bullet (e.g., those for whom English is not the language spoken at home) or just the third bullet (e.g., infants born prematurely). Many hospitals have “population health” offices focused on performance metrics for hospital patients (e.g., readmission rates, discharge follow-through). Thus, many hospitals and health systems do not tend to use the term “population health” in reference to hospital community benefit activities; this term often has a different meaning inside the hospital.
For this award program, either initiatives led by the population health or community benefit/health arm of the hospital or health system are eligible, as long as the improvement strategy and implementation effort meaningfully include a governmental health agency as a partner organization – a partner that inevitably works to improve population health in the broader sense, outside the hospital walls.
Do you have other questions about the Future of Population Health Award?
What is PHF’s involvement in improving population health?PHF offers sustainable population health improvement solutions to help hospitals and health systems build strong, healthy communities and neighborhoods. To get started with a customized solution for your community, contact Ron Bialek at