Glossary of Terms

Acute care: Includes actions to improve health that are highly time-sensitive, individually-oriented, and curative. It encompasses a range of clinical health-care functions including emergency medicine, trauma care, pre-hospital emergency care, acute care surgery, critical care, urgent care, and short-term inpatient stabilization.[i]

Alternative payment models (APMs): Structures within the healthcare system that shift provider reimbursement from a Fee for Service (FFS) model to a payment for the quality and value of patient health outcomes. APMs are characterized by sharing risk between providers and a payor source (such as a public or private insurance company), making population based payments, and supporting person centered care focused on quality, cost effectiveness, and patient engagement. (Summarized from Healthcare Payment Learning & Action Network, Alternative Payment Model Framework, https://hcp-lan.org/workproducts/apm-whitepaper.pdf)

Behavioral health: Mental/emotional well-being and/or actions that affect wellness. Behavioral health problems include substance use disorders; alcohol and drug addiction; and serious psychological distress, suicide, and mental disorders. Problems that range from unhealthy stress or subclinical conditions to diagnosable and treatable diseases such as serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders are included. These illnesses and disorders are often chronic in nature but people can and do recover from them with the help of a variety of interventions, including medical and psychosocial treatments, self-help, and mutual aid. The phrase “behavioral health” is also used to describe service systems that encompass prevention and promotion of emotional health; prevention of mental and substance use disorders, substance use, and related problems; treatments and services for mental and substance use disorders; and recovery support. [http://www.samhsa.gov/data/national-behavioral-health-quality-framework]

Biomedical research: The area of science devoted to the study of the processes of life, the prevention and treatment of disease, and the genetic and environmental factors related to disease and health. Utilizing biotechnology techniques, biomedical researchers study biological processes and diseases with the ultimate goal of developing effective treatments and cures.[ii]

Capacity building: The process of improving an individual’s, family’s, organization’s or community’s ability to succeed. In the case of organizational capacity building, this includes increasing skills and knowledge; increasing the ability to plan and implement programs, practices, and policies; increasing the quality, quantity, or cost-effectiveness of programs, practices, and policies; and increasing sustainability of infrastructure or systems that support programs, practices, and policies.[iii]

Capital support: Grants whose primary purpose is to support an organization’s infrastructure through new construction, expansion, renovation or replacement of an existing facility or facilities; including the purchase of any capital assets.

Collaboration: A group of individuals or organizations working together to address common goals. Partnerships involve a formal relationship of mutual respect and trust, coordination of administrative responsibility, establishment of reciprocal roles, shared participation in decision-making, mutual accountability, shared risk, and transparency.[iv]

Collaborative partnerships: Collaborative partnerships are alliances that are used to improve the health of a community. They encourage people to work together and make a difference.[v]  For example, an effort to improve community health might involve public health officials, medical professionals, health ministries, and community members. Because these partnerships bring people together from all parts of the community, their efforts often have the weight to be successful.

Collective impact: The commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. Collective impact is more rigorous and specific than collaboration among organizations. There are five conditions that, together, lead to meaningful results from collective impact:

  1. Common Agenda: All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions.
  2. Shared Measurement: All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  4. Continuous Communication: All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  5. Backbone Support: An independent, funded staff dedicated to the initiative provides ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.[vi]

Community: A group of people who share a common place, experience, or interest. We often use this term for people who live in the same area: the same neighborhood, the same city or town, and even the same state or country. People may also consider themselves part of a community with others who have had similar experiences. Finally, a community may be formed of people interested in the same things.[vii]

Community capacity building: Building the capacity of individuals within a community to work together to improve community health by working directly with individuals or through organizations that do so.

Community centered health home (CCHH): A new model aimed at strengthening the contribution of health centers to improve population health and the health of their patients by better addressing community/social determinants of health. CCHH is a model for effectively bridging community prevention and health service delivery, as described by The Prevention Institute.

Community health: A field within public health concerned with the study and improvement of the health of biological communities. Community health tends to focus on geographic areas rather than people with shared characteristics.

Cultural competence:  Describes the ability of an individual or organization to interact effectively with people of different cultures. To produce positive change, (health) practitioners must understand the cultural context of the community they serve, and have the willingness and skills to work within this context. This means drawing on community-based values, traditions, and customs, and working with knowledgeable people from the community to plan, implement, and evaluate activities.[viii] 

Early childhood development: There is no time in life when the brain develops more rapidly than during the first years. We're defining those first years as ages pre-natal to age 3. It is not day care. By building children’s brains from the earliest ages, we are shaping EHF for their future learning, behavior, and health. With this in mind, EHF will support action based on science to give our youngest community members the best possible start in life. We will invest in innovative programs with promising evidence that provide a direct benefit to young children and build lasting support systems for parents and caregivers.[ix]

Engaged Diocese: One of EHF’s three goals to bring congregations and parishioners together with other organizations to expand the impact of community ministry. See definition of ‘Episcopal Diocese of Texas.’

Episcopal Diocese of Texas: A territorial unit of administration within The Episcopal Church consisting of a number of individual parishes, under the pastoral oversight of a bishop. The Episcopal Diocese of Texas (EDOT) encompasses 57 counties in southeast and central Texas and is overseen by Bishop C. Andrew Doyle. The EDOT is home to 10 million people – a little less than half the population of Texas – and is the service area for the Episcopal Health Foundation. Click here for a map of the Diocese and visit the EDOT website, www.epicenter.org, for more information on its leadership, history, parishes and activities.

Health:  A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity.[x]

Healthy community: A community that continuously creates and improves its physical and social environments to enhance health and to help people support one another to achieve health and well-being.

Health disparity:  A type of difference in health that is closely linked with social or economic disadvantage. Health disparities negatively affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social or economic obstacles to health. These obstacles stem from characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion such as race or ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, mental health, sexual orientation, or geographic location. Other characteristics include cognitive, sensory, or physical disability.[xi]

Health equity: When all people have the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance.[xii]

Health inequality: Differences, variations, and disparities in the health achievements of individuals and groups of people.[xiii]

Health inequity: A difference or disparity in health outcomes that is systematic, avoidable, and unjust.[xiv]

Health impact assessment (HIA): A process that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project, or policy before it is built or implemented. HIAs can provide recommendations to increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health outcomes. They bring public health impacts and considerations to the decision-making process for plans, projects, and policies that fall outside the traditional public health arenas, such as transportation and land use.[xv]

Healthy places: Places designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within their borders -- where every person is free to make choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options.[xvi]

Integrated behavioral health: The care a patient experiences as a result of a team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population.

Integrated healthcare: The management and delivery of health services so that clients receive a continuum of preventive and curative service, according to their needs over time and across different levels of the health system. Integration is best seen as a continuum rather than as two extremes of integrated/not integrated. Integration is about the organization of various tasks which need to be performed in-order-to provide a population with good quality health services.[xvii]

Mental health: A state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.[xviii]

Needs assessment: A systematic procedure for determining the nature and extent of health needs in a population, the causes and contributing factors to those needs, and the human, organizational and community resources which are available to respond to these.[xix]

Population health: The health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. These groups are often geographic populations such as nations or communities but can also be other groups such as employees, ethnic groups, disabled persons, prisoners, or any other defined group.[xx]

Poverty: When a person or group of people lack human needs because they cannot afford them. Human needs include clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing, and shelter. The U.S. Social Security Administration originally developed the definitions that are used to help calculate and determine poverty. Families or people with income below a certain limit are considered to be below the poverty level. [xxi]

Restricted grant: Funding that supports specific activities carried out over a defined period and/or are planned in-order-to achieve a specific result or goal.

Routine service provision: An organization’s activities which relate to its general operating. In the context of EHF’s work, EHF does not fund routine service provision for public agencies, emergency assistance organizations, child care or after-school programs.

Serve and return interactions: Interactions between a developing child and an adult caregiver that shape brain architecture. When an infant or young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug, neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills. (Summarized from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/serve-and-return/)

Social determinants of health: Factors that contribute to a person's current state of health. These factors may be biological, socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioral, or social in nature. Scientists generally recognize five determinants of health of a population:

  • Biology and genetics. Examples: sex and age
  • Individual behavior. Examples: alcohol use, injection drug use (needles), unprotected sex, and smoking
  • Social environment. Examples:  discrimination, income, and gender
  • Physical environment. Examples: where a person lives and crowding conditions
  • Health services. Examples: Access to quality health care and having or not having health insurance.[xxii]

Socioeconomic status: A composite measure that typically incorporates economic, social, and work status. Economic status is measured by income. Social status is measured by education. Work status is measured by occupation. Each status is considered an indicator. These three indicators are related but do not overlap.[xxiii]

Strong health systems:  EHF seeks to strengthen the health system by developing more high-quality, integrated preventive, primary, oral and mental health services that provide community-based care with a focus on wellness.

TransformationTransformational change emphasizes systemic and organizational change that is sustained over time and cannot be ‘undone’. Transformation is not an ‘event’, but a dynamic process. It is distinct from innovation and creativity because it is designed to bring about complete change.

Unrestricted grants: Funding that supports an organization’s day-to-day expenses in furtherance of its mission rather than specific projects or programs; may also include support to build organizational infrastructure.

Vulnerable populations: Groups that are not well integrated into the health care system because of ethnic, cultural, economic, geographic, or health characteristics. This isolation puts members of these groups at risk for not obtaining necessary medical care, and thus constitutes a potential threat to their health.

Wellness: Wellness is the optimal state of health of individuals and groups.  There are two focal concerns:  the realization of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually, and economically, and the fulfillment of one’s role expectations in the family, community, place of worship, workplace, and other settings.[xxv]


[i] http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/91/5/12-112664/en/

[ii] http://njabr.com/education/general-background-on-biomedical-research/biomedical-research-definitions/

[iii] http://www.cdc.gov/dash/program_mgt/docs_pdfs/dash_definitions.pdf

[iv] http://www.cdc.gov/dash/program_mgt/docs_pdfs/dash_definitions.pdf

[v] http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/overview/model-for-community-change-and-improvement/building-capacity/main

[vi] http://www.fsg.org/OurApproach/WhatIsCollectiveImpact.aspx

[vii] http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/overview/model-for-community-change-and-improvement/building-capacity/main

[viii] http://www.samhsa.gov/recovery

[ix] http://joinvroom.org/
http://bezosfamilyfoundation.org/early-learning

[x] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/about.htm

[xi] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xii] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xiii] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xiv] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xv] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/hia.htm

[xvi] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/about.htm

[xvii] World Health Organization, Technical Brief No. 1, 2008

[xviii] http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/

[xix] http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/about/HP%20Glossay%20in%20HPI.pdf

[xx] http://www.improvingpopulationhealth.org/blog/what-is-population-health.html

[xxi] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xxii] http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xxiii]  http://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/Definitions.html

[xxiv] http://www.urban.org/health_policy/vulnerable_populations/

[xxv] http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/about/HP%20Glossay%20in%20HPI.pdf