Disclaimer: Moving Health Care Upstream is a collaborative effort originally co-led by Nemours Children’s Health System (Nemours) and the Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Nemours, UCLA or the Moving Health Care Upstream initiative.
Between January and September of 2020, nine population networks from across the country participated in Nemours’ Integrator Learning Lab, a learning-and-action collaborative in which multi-sector teams (including health care organizations) working on shared population health goals have an opportunity to receive self-directed resources, coaching, and technical assistance on issues presenting challenges to their network. The 2020 Integrator Learning Lab focused on strengthening use of integrative roles and functions within cross-sector networks.
Participating networks made significant progress on Lab-related goals. Achievements included areas such as: Increasing understanding of health and racial equity, and moving from concept to practice; Widening leadership tables to include individuals the network seeks to serve/represent; Formalizing data-sharing agreements; Expanding reach; and Securing additional financial and in-kind resources. For details, view Network Achievements, included within Nemours just-published collection of resources associated with the Integrator Learning Lab.
How Did Participating in the Integrator Learning Lab Benefit Networks?
The Integrator Learning Lab focused on use of tools to guide applied learning, and to support networks in operationalizing big ideas and embedding them into daily work flows and network policies and practices. Participants’ reflections on the benefit of the Learning Lab fell into the five themes below. For more insights on the value of participation, view our video series featuring members of Nemours’ 2020 Integrator Learning Lab.
-The Learning Lab helped networks accelerate their work in their home communities.
-The power of positive peer pressure was helpful.
-Direct technical assistance was the essential ingredient.
-There is power in naming and claiming integrative activities.
-The Learning Lab experience provided a space for teams to pause and focus in on work that often gets swallowed up by day-to-day responsibilities.
What Supported Success? How Can Success be Replicated?
Reflecting on input from participating networks, as well as our own observations, we identified four elements of the Integrator Learning Lab’s design that were essential to its success. These learnings are included here for the benefit of others in the field engaged in designing and facilitating learning communities.
1. Design the content and participant experience with a flexible framework.
2. Develop a customized action-learning plan for each network.
3. Check in with networks regularly, while being mindful not to over-burden their calendars.
4. Include an emphasis on concrete tools and applied learning.
Tools and resources used in the Integrator Learning Lab to produce network achievements are included within Nemours just-published collection of resources associated with the Integrator Learning Lab. By providing copies of tools and resources, Nemours’ goal is to spread the benefit of the Learning Lab to the field at-large.
“One of the tools that the Lab gave us in terms of equity is the equity impact assessment tool, which really put that as a focus of our policy and systems-change efforts in a very tangible way. So it ensured that the equity tool is a fundamental building block of all the conversations we have in that work stream.”
– Integrator Learning Lab member; DC Health Matters Collaborative