Get the latest delivered to your inbox
Privacy Policy

Now Reading

Aetna Foundation and the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs Team Up to Improve Community Health

Aetna Foundation and the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs Team Up to Improve Community Health

Published 12-08-16

Submitted by Aetna Foundation

Nearly 23 percent of overall health care spending in the United States comes from just one percent of the population, with five percent of the population responsible for 50 percent of spending.[1] To help improve the health of the people who use health care services most frequently, the Aetna Foundation today announced the “Neighborhood Health Compass” collaboration with the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, a new initiative of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. The two organizations will work together to help expand the use of integrated, cross-sector data among health care providers to improve health outcomes for individuals with complex health and social needs. 

Analyzing a wide range of data from both clinical and non-clinical sources was part of the “hot-spotting” technique used by Jeffery Brenner, MD, the executive director of the Camden Coalition. With this approach, Dr. Brenner was able to identify the heaviest users of health care in Camden, New Jersey and improve their care. He was honored with the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship for his work in 2013.

“We know that cities and counties have the power to create a long-term positive health impact throughout their communities by addressing social determinants of health,” said Garth Graham, MD, MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “Dr. Brenner’s approach has improved the health of the residents of Camden, and we will work collaboratively with the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs to expand this model for improving care for patients with significant health care needs.” 

With the grant, the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs will begin the planning and development of a national program office that will identify communities that could benefit from the same type of approach that has been used in Camden. Once the communities are selected, the program office will also provide technical assistance and support with the right methods for that community to improve the health of patients facing the most complex medical and social challenges.

“Our vision is to make Camden the first city in the country to ‘bend the cost curve’ while improving quality,” said Brenner. “Using this grant, we can not only expand our ability to share our learnings among health care providers, but also support the development of similar models that will truly improve the health of communities and neighborhoods across the country.”

Building Health through the Community

The Aetna Foundation collaboration with the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs is part of the Aetna Foundation’s broader effort to influence and improve the health of local communities. Since 2014, the Aetna Foundation has awarded more than $18 million in grants and sponsorships that support the Foundation’s overall commitment to building a healthier world, community by community. 

The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, a partnership between The Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), in collaboration with CEOs for Cities, is designed to create economically competitive, inclusive and equitable communities. Launched in 2016, the Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and mid-sized cities and counties that are able to show measurable improvements in health outcomes over the course of several years through cross-sector partnerships. The HealthyCommunity50 – organizations from across the country competing for the grand prize in the Challenge – was announced in September.

The Aetna Foundation also awarded community grants to 23 nonprofit organizations in September as part of its Cultivating Healthy Communities initiative. This program is designed to promote healthy eating and active living, strengthen health equity and advance innovations that make it possible for people to have more healthy days. The projects will benefit communities by improving health indicators such as access to healthy foods, increased physical activity, reduced incidences of bullying, more spaces for walking and biking safely and more. 

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET). Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $465 million in grants and sponsorships. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered 3.8 million hours since 2003. For more information, visit

[1] The National Institute for Healthcare Management, November 2014 -

Aetna Foundation logo

Aetna Foundation

Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is dedicated to improving health in local communities and large populations alike. How do we make it happen? Through community-based programs, dynamic partnerships and proven models that can help people accelerate progress everywhere.

More from Aetna Foundation

Join today and get the latest delivered to your inbox