Making a collective impact

Collective impact approaches must address and embrace complexity.

“Violence takes many forms, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child maltreatment, bullying, suicidal behavior, and elder abuse and neglect. These forms of violence are interconnected and often share the same root causes. They can also all take place under one roof or in a given community or neighborhood and can happen at the same time or at different stages of life. Understanding the overlapping causes of violence and the things that can protect people and communities is important, and can help us better address violence in all its forms.” 
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014)

Increasingly, there are more and more public health movements organizing around the task of preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and addressing early predictors of poor health later in life. These approaches include considering the impacts of systemic oppression and are supportive of restorative justice efforts by increasing community capacity and growing robust, trauma-informed systems. However, in order to do this effectively, a number of key movement players are required. Trends in the direction of a coordinated systems or collaborative approach are allowing us to address the limitations and gaps that currently exist between movements and to find common areas of alignment. Recognizing that health, wellness, and social justice is not the responsibility of a single discipline or agency –​ but rather a shared framework from which we operate – is essential to creating lasting change. We work more fully and effectively when we work together.

Here are some items to consider when coordinating a collective impact approach to our work:

  • Who are those allies working to achieve the same or similar outcomes?
  • Define a common agenda - what is the shared vision among partners?
  • Ensure shared accountability
  • Coordinate mutually reinforcing strategies and activities that saturate communities using various realms of influence
  • Work to achieve continuous communication among partners
  • Coordinate and convene ongoing backbone support via a stakeholder group, steering committee, etc.

See examples of how this can look.

Notice of Federal Funding and Federal Disclaimer: This website is funded through Grant #90EV0410-03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program [which incorporates funding provided by the National Center on Injury Prevention and Control/Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCIPC/CDC)]. Neither the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse this website including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided.

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