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Commons Health Network
Commons Health works to support and strengthen those systems which promote individual, community, and ecological health while embracing the recognition that ultimately, health is local.

Across the globe, a transformational approach to health is emerging.  This new healthcare paradigm fosters the promotion of health through the lens of health equity, relationship, and individual and community resilience.
Commons Health utilizes 'commons principles', community based rules, such as local decision making, transparency, and inclusion.  Importantly, Commons Health works to expand a new public narrative which includes concepts of shared decision making, equality, and cooperation.


" I think it is time... to make our own wise rules.... the first of those rules has to be the rule of respect – respect for the Commons, respect for the needs of the patient, and of the community that we share with the patient..." 

~ Donald Berwick, M.D. President and CEO,
Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2009

In addition, Commons Health recognizes that the health of populations is largely determined by the interrelationship of social determinants (see below) and ecological health.  Increasingly, climate change mitigation and healthy, local food systems are recognized as important strategies in the promotion of healthy individuals and communities.  (Click on image below to enlarge).

Key Concepts

Distinct from our conventional healthcare treatment delivery model, commons health care is community centered (rather than hospital centered), prevention focused, systems oriented, embraces integrative practice and employs local or bio-regional knowledge and solutions. At the heart of the Commons Health Care is a health equity lens and the promotion of individual, community and planetary resilience.


This framework embraces a variety of evolving, interrelated conceptual themes, which include:


Anchor Institutions - are place-based organizations firmly established in their communities.  Hospitals are key anchor institutions.  As a result, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have a responsibility to link their economic activity to the socioeconomic health of the communities in which they are anchored. Healthcare's  anchor institution role is enhanced through collaborative partnerships with local universities and colleges and the communities in which they are based.



"Agency", "Sense of Place", and Community Driven Health - which recognizes that ultimately it is citizens and engaged communities that need to take responsibility in defining their commons, setting goals, developing metrics and creating solutions. Explicitly, this highlights the importance of prevention, health equity, health of populations and solutions that exist outside hospital walls.  It also includes the concept of personal "health agency", which includes patients who are empowered partners in treatment and prevention.



Common Assets and Community Wealth Building – Social health and community wealth are intimately connected. Promotion of economic models which increase local reinvestment play an important role in the health of communities. Moreover, public ownership models for clean air, clean water, land and other commons assets are central to the health of communities and individuals.  


·     Integrative Practice – which is a healing-oriented medicine which facilitates the body’s innate healing ability and incorporates all factors that influence health and wellness including mind, spirit, community, and environment.  Integrative medicine has developed a deserved reputation for a focus on prevention and health promoting environments through its understanding of the interplay of environment, biological and social factors.



REngagement - Including here - if you are visiting this site you are likely interested in or are already working in this new paradigm. Please feel free to join our blog, submit a blog, send us links to your work and share news or conferences.  Tell us what you think!

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Keep Me Connected!
Watch The Ecology of Health video above and travel on a unique journey from our cells to our community to our planet to our cosmos in a meaningful exploration of connection and interrelationship.
New Accountable Communities Conference Reports: Explore important takeaways from our recent conference (pdf) and learn key next steps in the companion document (pdf).
Radical Redesign and the Door to Transformation: ABIHM blog on Commons Health linking CHNA, GMO's, Anchor Institutions and healthcare.
Huffington Post Article: The Commons Health Hospital Challenge was called out in a great Huffington Post article by Dr. Jeff Ritterman. Click here.  This is a great opportunity to get more clinicians and citizens to add their name in support of the Hospital Challenge (or learn more) here per the Huffington Post article suggestion.
Call for Speakers: The 4th Annual Conference for Integrative Medicine for the Underserved in Portland, Oregon on September 5-7, 2014 is seeking presenters! Submission deadline is April 15.
Event: on 02/04/14 The Great North, A Minnesota Chapter of the American Holistic Nurses Association hosted the workshop, Our Common Health: The Rise of an Integrative Approach to Health Policy and Prevention on the campus of St. Scholastica, in Duluth, MN.  Jamie Harvie was the featured speaker.  The presentation was followed by relationship building among attendees. See flyer here.