Our Approach

LIHF lifecourse initiative approach

The LIHF Model

We believe that change is sparked more rapidly by working together. More information about the model and approach to the design of the initiative can be found in the paper Wisconsin’s Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families: Application of the Maternal and Child Health Life Course Perspective Through a Regional Funding Initiative.

LIHF's model is informed by:

Community Coalition Action Theory

Community Coalition Action Theory is used to build consensus and actively engage diverse organizations and people in addressing community problems. Coalitions can facilitate ownership and build capacity among member organizations to address many types of community issues.

Collective Impact Model

Collective Impact is a framework often used to tackle complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and community members to achieve significant and lasting social change.

Race Equity Lens

Our country's history of racially discriminatory policies have marginalized people of color in many ways, including in housing, transportation, education, employment, and health. Understanding our history is a critical first step to understand racial inequities. Effective strategies to achieve health equity require a focus on the unique needs of communities of color.

Community-Academic Partnership

Community-academic partnerships enable communities and academic institutions to engage each other in partnerships that balance power, share resources, and work towards systems change. These partnerships require time and commitment and can be effective in improving complex health problems using the combined resources of the community and academic institutions.

LIHF Strategies

From the start, LIHF has utilized a life course approach based on Michael Lu’s "12-Point Plan to Close the Black-White Gap in Birth Outcomes".  The life course perspective challenges assumptions on the root causes of poor birth outcomes and provides a unifying theory for strategies that address multiple contributors to health, including health care, social, and economic factors.

LIHF's strategies are informed by:

Life Course Theory

Life Course Theory explains that health is influenced by the sum of a person’s total life experiences. The birth of a healthy baby is not only the result of 9 months of pregnancy, but the entire span of a woman’s life leading up to her pregnancy. A new birth also means the beginning of a new life course, and early experiences will have an impact on present and future health. 

Population Health Framework

The Population Health framework describes that health is not just the result of health care. Health results from many different aspects of our lives, including our social, economic, and physical environments. In order to improve population health on a large scale, policy, systems, and environmental changes are needed to allow all people to have opportunities to be healthy in the areas where they live, work, and play.

The Health Impact Pyramid

The Health Impact Pyramid is used to illustrate the impact that different types of interventions have on population health. Interventions focused on lower levels of the pyramid have a broad reach and require less individual effort. Implementing interventions at each of the levels can achieve the maximum possible sustained public health benefit.