ACT is in the process of developing a range of social innovation strategies and platforms. One part of the work is transforming health systems, for which we have a prototype: ACT Cincinnati (more information below). Another strategy is movement building at the city level, to create cities of the future where all children can thrive.

Places and initiatives are already responding to the crisis in child health, but many of these tend to be issue-focused and/or have difficulty scaling up—yet they are promising. Two prototype ACT sites that have already demonstrated improvements in children’s health include Columbus and Cincinnati.   

ACT is already starting to be implemented, with a prototype site in Cincinnati, Ohio. ACT Cincinnati has created a network to address infant mortality, health disparities across neighborhoods, reading level, and development of a “healthy mind and body” for each child. Learn more about their work to help all children thrive:

National US ACT Learning Network

Sites throughout the nation will participate in an action-focused innovation, improvement and learning network that will apply design concepts, quality improvement methods, and next generation collective impact tools to support local ACT system transformation efforts. Communities will be provided with opportunities to meet in-person and virtually to learn from each other - lessons learned, best practices, innovations, etc. Unlike the ACT Learning Community that is open to all interested individuals and entities, the National ACT Learning Network is a membership-based and more intensive experience for sites that are ready to commit significant time and resources to improving outcomes through ACT.

ACT Cities

Turning cities into micro enterprises of social innovation 


Cities have major influence on social determinants of health, development and wellbeing. This influence includes providing infrastructure – parks, recreation programs, libraries, community events and meetings, family support activities, and local transportation.  Along with local schools, these city influenced factors represent the most immediate places that families go to present their hopes and express their needs. In short, cities not only can provide and leverage resources needed to support children and their families at the most immediate, neighborhood level, they also can enlist, support, and activate diverse leaders at the grassroots to contribute to both formal and informal services and supports that nurture the development of children and young people. 

With key actors, such as the mayor and city council members, and framing of issues directly from community members, cities have the opportunity to prioritize challenges to child well-being and develop new and improved scaffolding that assures all children thrive. ACT Cities raises the visibility of whole child outcomes (healthy births, strong start in the first 1000 days, third grade reading level), and asks not only parents to be accountable for their children’s health, but communities and cities too. Recognizing that it truly does take an engaged and purposeful village to optimally raise a child, ACT Cities will connect advocates, leaders, and community members in diverse cities throughout the nation, providing a new kind of learning—a network in which cities can advance innovations, adopt best practices and better connect resources. 

One of the first opportunities to build momentum and move forward ACT Cities is ACT California Cities (ACT-CA). With commitment and resources from the State, ACT-CA will launch a pilot effort in January 2019.

ACT has also been implemented in Columbus, Ohio, through Nationwide Children’s Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families initiative. Recognizing that access to health care, opportunities for education, and neighborhood safety play critical roles in community health, the initiative focuses on impact areas to improve the health of children in 3 zip codes. 

ACT On-Ramp Process

While each site will take a different path to build up momentum to achieve ACT outcomes, the on-ramp process for all sites will require 4 main steps, which can be repeated in cycles with improvements in each iteration. The on-ramp process is informed by design strategies that include a focus on achieving transformation to a 3.0 health system, using human-centered design, utilizing multi-level and multi-sector engagement, and optimizing lifelong health development.

Systems Transformation

"ACT has capability and possibility for bringing disparate groups together and work towards a shared goal."
-Lila Guirguis, Office of the Young Child, City of Pasadena

© 2018 by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities