You Can Be a Public Health Provider








Growing Multi-Sector Health Providers

We offer tools and training for water utilities, cities, restoration groups, and others to improve public health through their work. Learn more about this work by exploring below.

The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Utilities have begun to look at more holistic, nature-based approaches to how their infrastructure investments can, for example, treat stormwater and reduce flood hazards while also improving public health and community livability by increasing access to parks, trails, and trees. We provided a snapshot of those opportunities in the report, “City of Seattle Community Health & Infrastructure Opportunities Analysis.”



Research continues to show that our zip codes may determine more about our health than our genetics.


Public health officials refer to the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age as “social determinants of health.” Characteristics like our housing, education, and water.

Health organizations are increasingly looking upstream to these social determinants of health to create community wellness, prevent chronic disease, and increase health care effectiveness.

Willamette Partnership is working with leaders to connect the healthcare industry with other sectors that haven’t been traditionally engaged in public health to improve outcomes for both public health and the environment. We can help identify opportunities and measure them so that other sectors can communicate the health benefits they provide.

Social determinants of health


Engaging students in outdoor environmental education goes beyond environmental stewardship. When kids can get outside for 20 minutes a day in a safe place outdoors, they demonstrate better attention performance in the classroom. By intentionally integrating a health focus into curricula and program design, outdoor education providers can bring these health benefits to students and help them develop the habits, perspectives, and skills that will allow them to make the connection between health and the outdoors in their independent lives. And, if outdoor education providers can measure and communicate these health benefits to health care organizations, they may be eligible to receive community health care dollars.

Willamette Partnership and the Oregon Public Health Institute wrote, “Guideline for Incorporating Health in Outdoor Education”  to shape thinking about opportunities to integrate health in outdoor education. This guideline is useful to school administrators who are considering how much time to allocate to outdoor education; capital improvements to bring green space into schools; the capacities and training their educators need to provide public health; and, other decisions related to public health and outdoor education.

Download the Guideline for Incorporating Health in Outdoor Education >>

guideline for health in outdoor education cover 2017

 WATER UTILITIES & CITIES as Health Providers

Sanitation systems began controlling the spread of infectious disease, to great success in the United States. And the world’s nations have been able to halve the number of people without access to basic sanitation and clean drinking water as a major part of reducing poverty. Today, however, chronic disease is one of the major drivers of death and healthcare costs. That means wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and flood management utilities have an important role to play in a new vision of public health.

Willamette Partnership is supporting cities like Seattle and Portland measure the health benefits of their green infrastructure investments, form partnerships with hospital systems, and incorporate health into the business case for why green infrastructure is so important (Download City of Seattle Community Health & Infrastructure Opportunities Analysis). We can help water utilities do the same.

(Left) Clean Water Services, a regional water resource utility, planting trees. Photo / Clean Water Services


If time in nature creates health, then we have to be thinking about how watershed groups, soil and water conservation districts, land trusts, and other conservation organizations can do their work to advance health equity. We are helping conservation organizations connect to their local hospitals to think about how their work can produce clean water, clean air, and healthy natural places to play.

Watch a recording of the Network of Oregon Watershed Councils‘ webinar on exploring partnerships with the human health sector to accomplish conservation education, featuring Willamette Partnership Executive Director, Bobby Cochran, by registering here.

Get in touch about connecting your work to public health.


bobby cochran, headshot, robert wood johnson foundation, willamette partnership


Have questions about articulating the public health outcomes of your work?

Bobby Cochran, Executive Director & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader

Learn about the effort in Oregon to improve public health by increasing access to the outdoors in communities facing health disparities.