Health Resources in Action has a broad range and depth of public health technical expertise that supports and strengthens our community health improvement, capacity building, consulting, and health investment services.
HRiA’s technical expertise reflects our history, our organizational vision and values, and our staff’s decades of experience, education, and training in these public health topics and approaches.
Select HRiA technical expertise is described below. Explore our projects to see and learn more about our full range of public health experience.
Early Education and Care Systems
The healthy physical and emotional development of children, starting with the first few days of life, is the foundation for a healthy and productive lifetime. Prior to school entry, children and families interact with a variety of systems – education, healthcare, housing, and the physical environment – that contribute to thriving children. HRiA works with each of these systems to promote individual, family, and community supports for strong families and healthy child development.
Our early education and care systems experts:
Provide training and technical assistance to educators and family child care support agencies to enhance child development practices, and establish policies and practices that foster healthy environments
Facilitate strategic planning and implementation processes for regional collective impact strategies to improve the efficiency and coordination of early childhood systems
Develop, pilot, and evaluate new service delivery models that work across systems to serve families
A host of circumstances – financial, practical, and political – are are increasing the recognition that health care, public health, and human service sectors must work together to improve health in a real and sustainable way. The shifting environment includes payment reform, a move to more coordinated, collaborative care, and a greater evidence base that a broad set of determinants impact health outcomes. These drivers are requiring that multiple systems, including health care and human services, to work together to address needs such as housing, behavioral health, employment, child care, and others to improve patient health. Innovative approaches within health care and strengthened partnerships with skilled human service providers with intimate understanding of the populations they serve can yield strong community engagement and more effective service delivery models.
Our multi-disciplinary team of experts:
Convenes diverse groups for discussion and consensus-building around common goals, shared health outcomes, and promising service delivery models
Engages health care and human services providers, stakeholders, and community members in collaborative community health assessments, planning, and implementation processes
Advances organizational development and sustainability strategies that integrate health care and public health approaches
Develops and manages community-based grantmaking processes
Provides training, technical assistance, and workforce development to increase the capacity of providers and systems
Facilitates processes on data integration across systems and analyzes data for action from a population health perspective
A Youth Development Approach recognizes and builds on young people's assets and strengths. Young people who are engaged, active, and supported are critical to building and sustaining healthy communities. HRiA takes great pride in engaging youth leaders and committed adults. We believe by expanding the skills and strengths of young people, adults, and youth serving programs, young people will create positive outcomes and, with their adult partners, be engaged in creating positive change in their communities. Public health programs for youth may be built around critical areas such as violence, substance abuse, tobacco prevention, physical health and nutrition, and healthy sexuality.
Our team of youth development experts work with youth and adults who work with youth to:
Develop peer leadership and other youth development curricula and programs emphasizing, youth engagement, youth-adult collaboration, youth advocacy, leadership development, and social marketing
Deliver customized trainings for youth, adults, and agencies that explore knowledge and attitudes, best practices, enhance skills, and incorporate sharing of resources and networking opportunities
HRiA is a leader in the tobacco prevention and control movement. We use a multi-pronged approach, emphasizing the diverse policies and practices that can reverse the influence of the tobacco industry and create healthier, tobacco-free communities. We understand that the tobacco industry reinvents its products and establishes marketing tactics to target the most vulnerable populations, including youth, communities of color, and those living in poverty. We are nimble in our approach, providing capacity building services that advance youth tobacco prevention, educating about tobacco cessation strategies, and/or supporting policies for tobacco-free environments.
Our tobacco experts:
Build a movement of youth leaders who promote positive, smoke-free social norms
Develop multi-sector partnerships with health care, education, housing, and social service agencies to combat Big Tobacco’s tactics
Mobilize communities around and raise the public profile of local tobacco policies
Provide guidance to property owners on how to design and implement smoke-free housing policies
HRiA is committed to reducing the burden of asthma within communities through multi-level policy, practice, and educational programs aimed at improving asthma outcomes. We understand that asthma management is a complex issue that involves both clinical and environmental settings. Our extensive experience allows us to address asthma from all angles, connecting the diverse perspectives and resources of community members, health care providers, housing and education agencies, payers, and advocacy organizations.
Our asthma experts:
Promote sustainable financing and infrastructure for the delivery of cost-effective home-based care and education by community health workers
Connect asthma with learning environments by create toolkits and guidance documents for early education and school settings emphasizing asthma education and policies that reduce environmental triggers
Foster policy and systems changes that create healthier housing and reduce the burden of asthma in the community, including smoke-free housing policies and support for proactive rental housing inspections
Communities must take a public health approach to substance use prevention and treatment. At HRiA we have experience across the substance use continuum of care, including an understanding of the needs of substance users, their families and caregivers, and treatment and medical service providers. Through our years working in substance abuse information and referral, community-level prevention, and communications, HRiA has a unique understanding of the continuum of care, how individuals seek to access treatment, and roadblocks to recovery.
Our substance abuse experts:
Offer information and referral services through the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline, where we help active substance users, family and friends, and service providers access information about treatment, recovery, and support services
Provide technical assistance on substance use prevention to communities to reduce the use and risks associated with alcohol and other drugs using evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies
Utilize health communications and social marketing approaches to promote the availability of substance use resources and educate about social norms
HRiA has worked with communities on chronic disease prevention for decades, and our healthy eating, active living (HEAL) work increasingly focuses on policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. Community health data reports have helped to focus communities on the chronic diseases caused by obesity and inactivity, and our work supports community-level change to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Many communities are increasing healthy eating in partnership with parents, school systems, and food systems, as well as increasing active living by emphasizing walking, biking, use of stairs, and better parks and play spaces. These changes have broad impact on the community and require a collaborative approach.
Our HEAL experts:
Facilitate multi-sector partnerships that ensure HEAL work is inclusive
Assess current and potential systems and policies that can best meet community needs
Provide technical assistance to communities to implement evidence-based and informedpractices to help lower population morbidity and mortality
Oral health must take a population health approach and engage both the community and health care systems to be truly effective. Community water fluoridation (CWF) has science on its side, and was declared one of top 10 public health successes of the century by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HRiA has conducted oral health trainings across the US for local public health officials, water operators, dentists, hygienists, and others, primarily focused on resisting attempts to end fluoridation. HRiA also chairs the National Advisory Board of the Campaign for Dental Health (ilikemyteeth.org), a national CWF movement, and is a member of the national Rapid Response Team (RRT), designed to support local efforts to resist fluoridation rollback attempts.
Our oral health experts:
Develop social marketing and communications approaches to build public and decision-maker support for CWF efforts
Conduct assessments of the oral health landscape to help foundations in allocating funds, and provide strategic planning services for state oral health plans
Provide technical assistance and training on community engagement in support of water fluoridation – including effectively building ‘community champions’