Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) is a 501(c)3 designated non-profit organization with a two-fold mission to improve the health status of Flint & Genesee County (Michigan) residents and to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of the health care system in the community.
GFHC functions as collective impact organization, created by cross-sector community, health care, public health, and business leaders in the early 1990s to serve as the neutral backbone and convening entity to lead and coordinate collaborative efforts to improve population health status, reduce and prevent disease, improve the quality and cost effectiveness of the healthcare system, and reduce health disparities. The GFHC is composed of a broad partnership of leadership from public health, physicians, hospitals, health systems, health insurers, safety-net providers (including federally qualified health centers and community mental health), business, education, community-based organizations, nonprofits, government agencies, policymakers, organized labor, faith-based partners, and committed citizens.
Based in Flint, Michigan, the Greater Flint community is located in Genesee County, approximately 65 miles northwest of Detroit, Michigan. The City of Flint has a total population of 96,500 (according to the 2017 census) while Genesee County as a whole has a total population of approximately 407,500. As the birthplace of General Motors (1908) and the United Auto Workers (1935), this once flourishing manufacturing community was at one time the home to nearly 80,000 General Motors jobs in the area’s local automobile factories. Today, less than 10,000 GM jobs remain in the community. While manufacturing and economic times have dramatically changed the region, the county is still heavily influenced by GM and the UAW. This history relates directly to the formation of the Greater Flint Health Coalition.
In 1992, several community leaders formed the Greater Flint Health Coalition to address the issues affecting Genesee County’s health status. Over time, the coalition influenced legislation to restrict smoking in public places; created task forces to improve access to health care and implement quality improvement initiatives; and worked to improve healthy lifestyles and increase the awareness of diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Two years later, in 1994, GM and the UAW began evaluating their efforts to influence health and maximize the value of health care delivered in communities where they do business. Through this venture, known as the Community Health Initiatives, they concluded that “locally focused efforts” could yield the best results. In 1996, GM and the UAW approached the Greater Flint Health Coalition members to work in partnership to achieve their mutual goals. The Greater Flint area had been chosen-along with Anderson, Indiana and Warren, Ohio for the investment of GM & UAW’s joint energies and resources to improve health status and better understand health care delivery issues.
In 1996, the Greater Flint Health Coalition was formally incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The non-profit GFHC was co-founded by GM and UAW, in equal partnership with McLaren Health Care, Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, with a role to serve as a neutral community–institutional partnership and multifaceted collaboration.
Today, the Greater Flint Health Coalition continues its role as a neutral convener and backbone organization supporting efforts to improve the health of the community. In addition, GFHC also operates a number of evidenced-based, community located programs to address a variety of the factors affecting health. The GFHC serves as a broad reflection of the community’s leadership with representatives from the following sectors collaborating on a shared community health improvement plan: health care, insurers, government, business, education, labor, and the at-large community. Matching the community’s needs, the Coalition’s vision is a healthy Genesee County community practicing healthy lifestyles with access to the best and most cost effective health and medical care.
Since its inception, the Greater Flint Health Coalition has served the community by reaching out to those with diverse experiences and perspectives to address common health issues in order to find solutions to our area’s most pressing health dilemmas. Through the power of partnership, consensus, collaboration, fairness, integrity, continuous improvement, innovation, and public participation, for more than 20 years the GFHC has been a neutral table in which cutting edge initiatives related to health care access and environment (including the social determinants of health), quality and innovation, health behaviors, cost and resource planning, health equity and racial disparities, and sector workforce development can be addressed to improve our community’s health status.