For information on news and events,  join our mailing list.
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, 
E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter and Listserve
For Email Newsletters you can trust

It has become clear that many of our approaches and organizational systems are inadequate. We are called to think and act differently.

Many of our major challenges take their origin from linear models and associated hierarchical structures; these operating systems have shortcomings that are becoming broadly apparent as we extend our reach far beyond our planet’s ecological carrying capacity.

In the context of the Great Transition, Commons Health was established to catalyze health creation and well-being by advancing leading edge place-based health creation models, a new operating system and tools, frameworks and strategies.

  • Commons Health works to apply 'commons principles, community based rules such as local decision making, transparency, and inclusion. 
  • Commons Health embraces systems thinking and complexity science to appropriately reflect our intimate relationship with planetary systems and current scientific knowledge.
  • Commons Health embraces a holistic model of health as the intimate relationship between mind, body, emotion and spirit more accurately reflects our nature and scientific understanding.
  • Commons Health operates from a justice perspective because equity, justice and well-being are one and the same.
  • Commons Health works from the standpoint of humility and spirituality to acknowledge our unknowing and infinitesimal place in the universe.

As such, Commons Health works to expand a new public narrative which includes concepts of shared decision making, equality, and cooperation - the new health operating system.
To date, these are some of the key components we believe are central to health, well-being and healthy communities:

      • A well-being, "whole person" model of health

      • Interdisciplinary collaborative team-based models 

      • Community derived health metrics

      • Holistic, vertically integrated community owned food systems from farm to fork. 

      • Community - healthcare collaborations

      • Steward leadership

      • Anchored capital through wealth building strategies such as anchor institution investments and cooperative business models.

      • Shared ownership models and Community commons such as cooperatives, land trusts, fishery trusts, and parks  

Key Concepts

Distinct from our conventional healthcare treatment delivery model, commons health care is community centered (rather than hospital centered), prevention focused, systems oriented, embraces integrative practice and employs local or bio-regional knowledge and solutions. At the heart of the Commons Health Care is a health equity lens and the promotion of individual, community and planetary resilience.


This framework embraces a variety of evolving, interrelated conceptual themes, which include:


Anchor Institutions - are place-based organizations firmly established in their communities.  Hospitals are key anchor institutions.  As a result, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have a responsibility to link their economic activity to the socioeconomic health of the communities in which they are anchored. Healthcare's  anchor institution role is enhanced through collaborative partnerships with local universities and colleges and the communities in which they are based.



"Agency", "Sense of Place", and Community Driven Health - which recognizes that ultimately it is citizens and engaged communities that need to take responsibility in defining their commons, setting goals, developing metrics and creating solutions. Explicitly, this highlights the importance of prevention, health equity, health of populations and solutions that exist outside hospital walls.  It also includes the concept of personal "health agency", which includes patients who are empowered partners in treatment and prevention.



Common Assets and Community Wealth Building – Social health and community wealth are intimately connected. Promotion of economic models which increase local reinvestment play an important role in the health of communities. Moreover, public ownership models for clean air, clean water, land and other commons assets are central to the health of communities and individuals.  


·     Integrative Practice – which is a healing-oriented medicine which facilitates the body’s innate healing ability and incorporates all factors that influence health and wellness including mind, spirit, community, and environment.  Integrative medicine has developed a deserved reputation for a focus on prevention and health promoting environments through its understanding of the interplay of environment, biological and social factors.



REngagement - Including here - if you are visiting this site you are likely interested in or are already working in this new paradigm. Please feel free to join our blog, submit a blog, send us links to your work and share news or conferences.  Tell us what you think!

" I think it is time... to make our own wise rules.... the first of those rules has to be the rule of respect – respect for the Commons, respect for the needs of the patient, and of the community that we share with the patient..." 
Donald Berwick, M.D.
President and CEO,
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
The Ecology of Health
Join our Shared Work

Commons Health receives calls and has interested partners across the globe. If any or our goals resonate and you'd like to help advance a new health system, let us know! Tell us your story, add your name to our mailing list and join in our evolving working groups. Add your organization to the Network.