Goals and Philosophy
As one strategy for achieving its mission, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives make grants to promote and support community-based work that:
- Increases the will, capacity and resilience of individuals and communities to be well, stay well, and contribute to the health and well-being of each other.
- Promotes a transformational vision of health in Arizona as the total integration of mind, body and spirit with a responsive community.
- Ensures that all Arizonans have access to affordable, integrated, high-quality and cost-effective health care.
What is Health in a New Key?
In 2003, we had an epiphany: We didn’t walk the talk! Wrapped up in a language and culture of deficits, risk and needs, we failed to recognize that our most successful grants and partnerships were those that built upon the existing strengths and assets within communities. This led us to explore ways to identify, encourage and leverage our collective strengths and opportunities in order to develop healthier, resilient communities. We call this work Health in a New Key – a strength-based approach to community development.
What do We Mean by Community?
In Health in a New Key, a community is a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.
There are five key elements: (1) a sense of place, (2) sharing common interests and perspectives, (3) joint action, (4) social ties, and (5) diversity. Bundled together, these five elements create social capital – the glue that holds communities together.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to recover from, and adapt to, life’s difficulties. Research tells us a great deal about the attributes of individuals who succeed despite a history of stresses and trauma, and the characteristics of families, schools and communities that foster and support these individuals. We look for opportunities to tap into our collective resilience – our protective factors – to stay healthy.
Resilience changes the paradigm. Health in a New Key Partnership Grants are not based solely on the elimination of disease states – the traditional medical model – but on opportunities to tap into our collective resilience – our protective factors – to stay healthy in the first place.
For individuals, there are three general categories of protective factors:
- Biological Factors – the genetic and physical characteristics, resistance to disease, temperament, intelligence, etc.
- Attachment – the capacity for bonding, forming significant relationships with others; the capacity for empathy, compassion, joy.
- Control – the capacity to manage one’s environment, social competence, esteem, sense of purpose.
For communities, these are the protective factors:
- Diversity – of individuals, roles, responses, economic conditions, thinking.
- Redundancy – in the sense of overlapping types, functions and institutions that diffuse disturbances and create safety nets.
- Feedback Loops – a web of interconnectedness, both in a biological and social sense.
Read more about resilience in Resilience: Health in a New Key, a 2003 Arizona Health Futures issue brief.
You can share the short story of resilience by downloading or requesting hard copies of “Health in a New Key: A Pocket Guide to Developing Healthy, Resilient Communities.”
A Focus on Prevention
Health in a New Key Partnership grants seek to leverage the protective factors that prevent or otherwise slow the incidence of poor health at both the individual and community level. Prevention occurs at three levels:
- Primary Prevention – disease prevention (immunizations), prevention of intentional and unintentional injuries, environmental prevention (water, air quality, etc.)
- Secondary Prevention – activities that address early detection and intervention for health related problems or diseases.
- Tertiary Prevention – the management of the chronic conditions or diseases that reduce complications.
To illustrate for cardiovascular disease:
Learn more about prevention by visiting the Prevention Institute. www.preventioninstitute.org
How Does It All Fit Together?
Healthy individuals depend on healthy communities – and vice versa. A focus on strengths and assets starts with what we have, not what we lack, and gives us a platform on which we can collectively develop the social capital necessary to leverage those strengths and the protective factors that promote health and well-being. Here is one model–developed by researchers focusing on developing resilience in youth–on how the parts relate to each other:
A community resilience approach is based on the unique culture of the community. It builds on what is currently working within cultures and is tailored to the community’s strengths. A community resilience approach enables communities to develop solutions that benefit all the community members, and not just one segment to the exclusion of others.
Health in a New Key Partnership Grants, then, are intended to:
- Invest in the strengths and assets of individuals and communities.
- Leverage those assets through the development of greater social capital and the protective factors that promote resiliency.
- Focus on prevention strategies at all levels that tap into that resiliency and result in improved health outcomes for all.