A Hands-On Guide to Cultural Integration in Community Health Partnerships and Alliances
Building to a sum greater than its parts
Today’s transformations in population health, clinical integration, and value-based care are leading community health centers (CHCs) to embrace new partnerships and alliances to improve access to care. One of the most critical but often overlooked factors essential to success in these partnerships is a mutual understanding of — and approach to integrating — the partners’ respective cultures. Culture is broadly defined as the way organizations align people and practices with desired strategies, actions, and outcomes. It includes things like an organization’s values, beliefs, and practices (how the organization handles conflict or makes decisions).
Proactively attending to culture can help partners achieve higher levels of knowledge sharing, improved coordination, and the development of new programs and services that strengthen the partnership. Conversely, failing to prioritize and proactively address culture can put a new partnership in peril.
This guidebook aims to help community health organizations mitigate cultural risks associated with partnering while simultaneously harnessing cultural strengths to build sturdier, more effective partnerships. The guidebook was created by consultants skilled in human-centered design and based on lessons learned from California CHC leaders experienced in a variety of partnership activities. Tools include actionable insights, hands-on exercises, and real-world examples.
Using this guide, CHC leaders will learn:
- How to define what culture is and how to talk about it
- The ways culture manifests in their organization and how to identify their cultural strengths
- How to talk about culture with their partners and leverage the strengths of each organization
- What the typical cultural “friction points” are in partnerships and how to navigate them