From the Ground Up: Improving Community Health Through Collaboration


Detailed Description

"Established by St. Mary’s Health System, a member of Covenant Health, the long-term goal of the Nutrition Center is to build a viable, just food system, while supporting local leaders, strengthening community ties, and engaging youth as agents of change. The Nutrition Center operates on the belief that equity in our food system is deeply tied to inequity within our community, and that a whole-person, and whole-community, approach is critical to creating long-term change. Located in a previously vacant, but beautiful, historic school building in the midst of downtown Lewiston, Maine’s most economically challenged neighborhoods, the Nutrition Center serves families, youth, adults, elders and refugees across the city’s many diverse communities with a focus on those who have limited incomes and an increased risk for food insecurity."


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Type of Story



  • Education

  • Family and social support

  • Diet and exercise

  • System change: Public health transformation

  • System change: Community transformation

  • System change: Capability development

  • Health System Transformation Oasis

  • Health-promoting

  • Population-centered

  • Proactive

  • Interpersonal (between people)

  • Organization

  • Community/place

  • Culture

  • School

  • Neighborhood

  • Social services

  • Broader community

  • Childhood 0-18

  • Infancy Birth to 1

  • Early childhood 0-5

  • Junior youth 13-15

  • Youth 16-24

  • Adults 18+

  • Adults 18-44

  • Adults 45-64

  • Older adults 65+

  • Older adults 65-74

  • Older adults 75-85

  • All ages

  • Portfolio 3 (Improving community health and well-being together with partners for a specific issue)

    ​​​​In this portfolio, health care organizations work together with community partners to improve specific health and wellbeing outcomes for a place-based population.

  • Portfolio 4 (Stewarding the community's long-term overall well-being)

    ​​​​​​In this portfolio, health care organizations actively engage in contributing to the long-term, overall wellbeing of the community as part of their mission and responsibility. In partnership with other community-based organizations, the focus on the community as a whole beyond subpopulations or priority topics.

Action Areas
  • Stewardship

    ​​​​​​Resources to help organization-wide leadership, governance, and board engagement around what improves health, wellbeing, and equity in the community, that recognizes the importance of a shared vision on social drivers and the community as an asset.

  • Equity

    ​​​​​​Everyone deserves to have a fair and just opportunity to be healthier. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and the lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

  • Community benefit

    ​​​​​​Resources to help nonprofit hospitals obtain tax-exempt status by investing in community and population health, in range of services and activities that address the cause and impact of health-related needs.

Words to Describe