In a major effort to reimagine California’s health system, the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) has selected 37 communities to advance an innovative approach to building community health and equity. Following a rigorous, multi-step review with 22 expert evaluators, the communities will implement an Accountable Community for Health (ACH). ACHs are sustainable platforms for aligning local health and social services while centering community voice and equity.
“To ensure health for all, we must change how we approach health transformation, starting by making sure everyone is at the table,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health and state public health officer. “This major investment in lifting up community voice and centering equity is critical to achieving California’s goal of improved health outcomes, especially for lower-income communities and communities of color.”
Located in 27 counties, the ACHs will receive a total of $13.5 million over the next two and a half years. Of the 37 ACHs, 13 are in Southern California, 16 in Northern California and eight in the central region of the state. Some ACHs are managed by local nonprofits, while others are housed within county health departments or other government agencies. This new funding aims to strengthen ACHs as local civic infrastructure and transform systems by facilitating multi-sector partnerships, aligning priorities and actively engaging communities.
ACHs are designed to break down silos by bringing together many community sectors and players while centering residents’ voices in decision making. Through building trust-based partnerships, ACHs empower communities to address persistent and emerging health challenges and social inequities in holistic, innovative ways.
“Accountable Communities for Health is a critical strategy to help California reverse historic inequities,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and lead champion for ACH funding in the state budget. “They help us rebuild trust in one another, bridging long-standing divisions in our communities. I’m proud that our state is embracing this innovative approach to improve the health and well-being of everyone.”
“Community health is determined by countless complex social, economic and environmental factors that no one person or organization alone can address,” said CACHI director Barbara Masters. “By bringing together diverse voices from every sector — including health care providers, businesses, governments, nonprofits, faith groups and community residents — ACHs provide a place for solutions to bubble to the surface and be put into action. Ultimately, ACHs help everyone begin to paddle in the same direction.”
In July, 24 communities will launch new ACHs, joined by 13 others that have piloted ACHs over the last five years. All will use the ACH as a vehicle to help make measurable progress on one of California’s major state health initiatives, such as California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal, violence prevention and the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.
CACHI launched in 2016 as a public-private partnership supporting California’s ACHs through grants, technical assistance, policy change, education and evaluation. In June 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom approved a $15 million budget line item to fuel the state’s ACH expansion.
California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative is a public-private collaboration with support from the California Department of Public Health, The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Wellness Foundation. Past support has been provided by Kaiser Permanente, Sierra Health Foundation, Social Impact Exchange, and Well Being Trust. CACHI receives administrative support from Community Partners, a Los Angeles–based nonprofit intermediary organization. To learn more about Accountable Communities for Health and CACHI, visit www.cachi.org.