• Amid growing recognition that keeping people and communities healthy is a critical component of improving our nation’s health, NQF is collaborating with 10 groups in communities across the nation to test the Improving Population Health by Working with Communities—Action Guide 1.0. The testing is the second phase of a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support efforts to improve population health. One of the communities testing NQF’s Action Guide is the Community Service Council (CSC) of Greater Tulsa, Oklahoma. The CSC provides leadership for community-based planning and mobilization of critical social, health, education, and civic services that improve the lives of thousands of Oklahomans each day. NQF spoke recently with Laura Ross-White, CSC senior planner of healthcare initiatives, about CSC’s work and its collaboration with NQF.

    NQF: How would you describe your community?

    LRW: CSC primarily serves residents of Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma, although some of our programs are statewide. Tulsa County has about 610,000 residents, and its population is spread out and segmented. Primarily, residents have a high school education with some college. We are an aging community, and soon the portion of residents 85 and older will outpace the portion of residents who are 3 and under.

    NQF: What are the two biggest challenges your community faces?

    LRW: Tulsa is truly not a walkable city and lacks an adequate transportation infrastructure. This makes it hard for people to access healthcare, the lack of which is another one of the greatest challenges within our community. Not only is it physically difficult to get to a doctor, but many of our residents are working poor who can’t afford health insurance. Meanwhile, those who can get insurance often don’t know how to use it.

    NQF: How has participating in NQF’s Population Health Framework project helped to further CSC’s work?

    LRW: We’ve used this project to help launch a Maternity Medical Home Care Coordination initiative in Tulsa County. For this project, which began last September, we embedded care coordinators at obstetrics practices across the county to help manage high-risk patients and increase access to preventive services, with the goal of reducing infant and maternal mortality.

    Working with NQF also has helped us to become more accountable to measures we had established that align with federal programs, and to understand the importance of shared measurement across programs. In the process, we engaged providers and agencies that weren’t as progressive as others, and have expanded our membership.

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