At Peer Health Exchange, we know an estimated two million young people don’t currently receive comprehensive health education in the United States. It’s why we’ve been hard at work to find innovative ways to reach more young folks in new communities with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to make healthy decisions. Case in point—in our “college affiliate” model—Peer Health Exchange is piloting new partnerships to support the implementation and launch of our program outside our five city sites. Continue reading to learn more from Vice President of Business Development Arianne Graham about our affiliate model and a new grant from the Community Foundation that will help support this important work in Stockton, California.
Q. How did you come to meet leaders in Stockton and to assess the potential for partnership in the community?
A. Through our vast network of supporters and advisors, Peer Health Exchange senior leaders were invited to participate in a Reinvent Stockton event, which consisted of a day-long tour around town highlighting community leaders and initiatives. In this context, we were able to meet many local folks in education, health, and philanthropy, even the dynamic young Mayor Tubbs! I think the key to Peer Health Exchange expanding outside of the five cities that we work with today really does necessitate a community being able to articulate their needs to us. It doesn’t make any sense for us to push into a community or to impose our agenda or our mission on them. What was really inspiring about Stockton was that, on the evening of the grant presentation, I found myself in a room with the Mayor, the school superintendent, health, higher education and community leaders who all greeted me with a resounding, “We are so glad you are here! We’ve been waiting for you and are so excited for the Peer Health Exchange program to impact our city’s amazing young people.” If this is to be a partnership we have to be welcomed in with open arms.
I heard from the community a deeply expressed need and a passion for Stockton’s young people and a real open invitation for Peer Health Exchange to come alongside and to contribute to the betterment of life for everyone in Stockton and in particular for young people. The strategic question facing Peer Health Exchange is what we will do when there is more demand than supply to support the start-up process for new affiliate sites. How will we prioritize and rank community need in a way that is equitable, transparent, and efficient? Stay tuned!
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about this specific grant?
A. The Community Fund of San Joaquin County has been doing great work to really invest in community leaders and people who are trying to make life better within the county and we were introduced to the Community Fund by a couple of different people. As we got to know a little bit about the Community Fund we understood that there is actually a sub-funding stream focused on Health: it is one of the key interest areas for the foundation—to work on improving community health. Thus the mission of Peer Health Exchange and advancing health equity in Stockton really fit well within the purview of that fund. This particular grant will support Peer Health Exchange staff time and expenses to train college partners to establish Peer Health Exchange in Stockton.
Q. What goes into affiliate planning?
A. We look for a strong college partner and the model of implementation that will fit best with that campus and culture (This could be a student-run club, an academic course, an independent study or for-credit academic internship). We build relationships with the local school district and identify those first schools where we want to get started with the program. We look for health partners that can help open up access to health care for young people, but also can be investors in the work with us. Our hope for this grant is that the Community Foundation is really setting up Peer Health Exchange and the Stockton community to go into this work together with as few barriers to entry as possible, especially for the college and schools.
Q. Have we identified potential partners already?
A. Yes, both the school district and the health plan have committed to startup funding, in addition to the Community Fund. I’ve only been at Peer Health Exchange for a year and a half, but it’s clear to me that Stockton knew about us and wanted us to come to their community well before that, which was amazing. So in my short in-person visit, I met with folks from the local universities and colleges, the school district, the Medicaid plan, mayor’s office, and local investors and philanthropy folks that are committed to improving life in Stockton. All of those people expressed a passion for young people and a passion for making Stockton a better place to live and work. It really felt like a very special place in terms of having many stakeholders from across different areas coming together on behalf of young people.
Q. Is there anything else that you think would be helpful for our supporters to know?
A. Peer Health Exchange is just getting started in dreaming big about how we can reach more young people in new communities in a more scalable fashion. It has been really encouraging both in Denver and particularly in Stockton to see us be welcomed into a community, and I think there is a key lesson to be learned there. We must approach new communities with humility, to be curious and to listen well to the articulated needs of the community, how they are already loving and investing in their youth, and only then can we have an open discussion about how Peer Health Exchange can be additive to the work of making a city or town a better place to live and work for everyone. I think Peer Health Exchange will continue to be successful if we approach that work in that way, not in isolated siloes, but alongside members of the community who are there for the long haul.
Arianne joined Peer Health Exchange in June 2017. As Vice President of Business Development, she is primarily responsible for the strategic approach to and execution of Peer Health Exchange’s plans to scale beyond five cities, and how healthcare can drive systemic change in our existing and new sites.
Since the beginning of her career, Arianne has always intentionally focused on understanding the healthcare landscape from a variety of perspectives, driving strategic partnerships across multiple sectors of the industry, and as such she cultivated deep domain expertise in the life sciences, health systems administration, managed care, and patient advocacy.
Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange, Arianne led in both commercial and operational roles within the health technology startup scene: advancing physical and behavioral care coordination at Quartet Health, enabling better patient access for leading health systems at Kyruus, and empowering patients with life-changing conditions to connect with others online and participate in health outcomes research at PatientsLikeMe. Arianne first ventured into healthcare when she and her father (a pediatric pulmonologist) co-founded Not One More Life, a non-profit organization aimed at reducing respiratory health disparities through education in partnership with faith-based communities and schools. Arianne graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Finance and International Management. She also earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.