Healthy Aurora is a community-based population health initiative in Aurora, Illinois, which is the second largest city and one of the most ethnically and racially diverse in Illinois. Healthy Aurora’s short-term goals include increasing awareness and knowledge about health insurance, health services and preventive screening. One of the longer-term goals of Healthy Aurora is to have the city certified as a Blue Zones community, which is recognition achieved when a specific level of community health-based achievements is reached.
The lead funder, the Dunham Foundation, viewed the launch of this initiative from an impact investment perspective seeking to generate health literacy and healthy behavior outcomes. Healthy Aurora is supported financially or in-kind by several organizations: Delta Dental, The City of Aurora, The Center for Healthcare Innovation, Breaking Free, VNA of Illinois, Bureau Gravity, Illinois Poison Center, Kane County Health Department and Zesty Sleep. Of these 10 supporting organizations, six are health-related agencies, associations and organizations. Noticeably absent from the list of current organizational sponsors are the major health systems and health plans serving individuals and families in Aurora.
The governance of Healthy Aurora seeks to equalize decision-making by uncoupling the amount of financial contribution/investment from decision-making authority. This practice is in part driven by the reality that finances represent the “tip of the iceberg” in investing in population health initiatives.
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