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Reading: Equally Well: Using a collective impact approach to enable system wide leadership.


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Equally Well: Using a collective impact approach to enable system wide leadership.


Russell Roberts

Equally Well Australia, AU
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Introduction: People living with mental illness have poorer physical health and die on average 20 years younger than the general population. Most of this poor health and early death is due to preventable chronic health conditions. Using a collective impact model, Equally Well, provides examples of, how with the support of a backbone organisation, leadership is distributed to enable the development of new collaborative initiatives that are ‘fit-for-purpose’ and not imposed by a central agency. This presentation provides examples from Australia, New Zealand and UK on how the collective impact approach has been adapted and implemented.

Aims, Objectives, Theory or Methods: The aim of Equally Well is to facilitate increased coordination and integration between a diverse range of partner organisations toward a common goal. Based on the theory and methods of the collective impact model, Equally Well looks to enhance the way organisations work together towards the ultimate objective of improving the physical health and reducing the life expectancy gap for people living with mental illness. A variety of methods were used, such as a national audit to identify and share best practice; and continuous communication to increase awareness of the issue, initiatives and opportunities to address this problem.

Highlights or Results or Key Findings: A comprehensive national environmental scan and audit revealed 387 projects and initiatives underway to implement the recommendations of the Equally Well National Consensus Statement. The most effective and sustainable initiatives were then identified and highlighted through webinars, symposia, and social media. This served as a catalyst for partners to network, collaborate and share learnings and resources. In addition, policy, implementation and clinical delivery communities of practice were established as a forum to discuss these projects and their associated processes and challenges. As a result, new cross-jurisdictional and inter-sectorial partnerships were established across the government, non-government, and research sectors.

This distributed leadership and light-touch governance model means that contextually appropriate new partnerships can form according the context and capability of each organisation at the time. This presentation will outline case examples illustrating how this process facilitated collaborative partnerships to provide integrated holistic care.

Conclusions: Supported by a strong policy framework, this experience demonstrated the capability of agencies to self-organise to form strong integrative partnerships. Further, this light-touch approach, means partnerships can develop to best suit their unique situational context, and combined with a shared, agreed goal, this results in better and sustainable ‘fit-for-purpose’ solutions.

Implications for applicability/transferability, sustainability, and limitations: The processes and methods of a collective impact approach can be applied to a range of care scenarios to facilitate enhanced integration and collaboration. Working through local place-based leaders results in a more sustainable approach that works to focus, mobilize and coordinate existing capacity towards a common agenda.
How to Cite: Roberts R. Equally Well: Using a collective impact approach to enable system wide leadership.. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):317. DOI:
Published on 04 Nov 2022.


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