For more than three decades, the team at DMA Health Strategies has been working with state, federal and local leaders to develop effective strategies, manage change and promote accountability. We are excited to have a new look on our website, but we retain the same broad focus on improving access, cost and quality of behavioral health services. Our work has spanned projects from large statewide Medicaid procurements and national evaluations to small local innovations in behavioral health. Over the last several years, we have been particularly excited to work more intensively with local communities here in Massachusetts. These include the City of Boston, Fall River, North Central Massachusetts and more recently Framingham, with whom we have collaborated to assess needs, start community conversations and develop new strategies to deliver treatment and prevention services.
It is clear to all of us that systemic change and payment reforms can move the needle on access to care and on the types of services available. But all real change is local. Lasting changes in population health require engaged communities, trusted relationships and common goals. We need to nurture strong connections with community leaders across different sectors, including health, rehabilitation, law enforcement, education, social services, employers and faith-based organizations. No sector is better suited to work on these issues than community behavioral health agencies. However, to expand their focus from treatment to prevention and health promotion, Community Mental Health Centers and Addiction providers must have time and flexible funding resources.
Increasing community engagement requires committed public, private and philanthropic partners. Effective community development starts with community conversations to develop shared priorities, and mobilize participants. This work must be supported by effective project management and maintain transparency and accountability through public reporting. We have all felt the energy that can come from a good community planning meeting. Sustaining that energy is the challenge. We believe that it requires leaders to listen carefully and support cross sector connections while simultaneously managing the project using quality improvement tools.
Take a look at our work on this website. Please share your ideas and successes with us. Call or contact us if there is anything we can do to help you and your colleagues build truly healthy and engaged communities.