360 Degrees of Health: Advancing well-being through community health research
Overall wellbeing is influenced by a number of factors beyond biology including the social and built environments, access to well-functioning institutions, economic opportunity, housing, food quality, and safety. These extrinsic factors, often referred to as the social determinants of health, operate in a dynamic way to shape individual and population health outcomes. W.W. Caruth Jr. Fund’s 360 Degrees of Health grantmaking will focus on funding studies that explore ways to improve wellbeing in the North Texas community for the benefit of every resident in ways that account for variables such as race, income, and zip code. The goal is to identify evidence-based ways of building a culture of health for all.
North Texas is falling behind on several critical measures of community health according to the Healthy People 2020 Index, a scorecard designed to move every community toward improved health based on a social determinants framework. Healthy People 2020 highlights metrics that have been shown to promote “high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.” Few of the counties in North Texas are on track to hit the Healthy People 2020 targets by next year, and many counties lag far behind on key indicators such as rates of heart disease, immunization, and smoking. 
A review of the Healthy People 2020 progress tracker makes clear that improved community health is not entirely a problem of discovering new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Much is known about how to detect and prevent disease, as well as the environments and lifestyle choices that extend life. The problem is that many people do not consistently engage in healthy behaviors, cannot always access quality healthcare, or may live in unhealthy environments. Innovative approaches to health promotion that can deliver results in real world settings are urgently needed, along with a clear understanding of the implementation conditions and populations in which they are likely to succeed.
There are three categories of funding described below. Organizations, such as hospitals or universities, may submit more than one application. However, a principal investigator must be listed on each application, and an individual may only serve as a PI on one project. The same individual may be listed as a part of the research team on other applications.
The budget cap for proposals is $750,000. The budget should be closely tied to the direct costs of doing the research, with reasonable limits on overhead. We will be reviewing project budgets through an efficient use of resources lens, and anticipate that proposed landscape analyses will be less costly than other types of proposed studies. Preference will be given to proposals that are led by investigators with strong subject matter expertise; whose impact will extend beyond a single organization; and that target populations disproportionately affected by the selected community health challenge or that experience barriers to accessing high quality care.