Podcast: 2-1-1 San Diego Discuss Leveraging Community Information Exchanges during COVID: An Interview with Camey Christenson and Karis Grounds

Camey Christenson (left) and Karis Grounds (right)

In this episode, Podcast host Peter Eckart is joined by 2-1-1 San Diego’s Vice President of Health and Community Impact, Karis Grounds, and Chief Business and Development Officer, Camey Christenson to discuss how they’ve leveraged their CIE and partner relationships for a comprehensive COVID response that meets their community’s present needs. Camey and Karis share their insight on how other communities can leverage the community data and information systems and partnerships already present in their communities.  

Prior to working at 2-1-1, Grounds worked in international and refugee health, helping to improve access to care and preventative services. She is passionate about the social determinants of health and advancing holistic health to improve equity locally and nationally. Lifelong social worker, Christenson brings her background in clinical social work to her nonprofit leadership. She has worked in the nonprofit field for more than 25 years and believes in the power of collaboration. Christenson is steadfast in her commitment to improving services to our community and shaping the person-centered movement across the nation. As leadership at 2-1-1 San Diego, Christenson, and Grounds brought their combined backgrounds in health and human service to support the vision, engagement, and integration of the Community Information Exchange with Network Partners across health and social services.

CIE San Diego is an ecosystem comprised of multidisciplinary network partners that use a shared language, a resource database, and an integrated technology platform to deliver enhanced community care planning. Care planning tools enable partners to integrate data from multiple sources and make bi-directional referrals to create a shared longitudinal record. By focusing on these core components, a CIE enables communities to shift away from a reactive approach to providing care toward proactive, holistic, person-centered care. Using the system, clinical staff, including social workers and case managers, and other network partners can access a patient’s individual longitudinal record. This record is informed by a deep understanding of the social determinants of health and how they contribute to positive or poor health outcomes and quality of life. 

Additional Resources: 

  • Learn more about CIE San Diego
  • Join the conversation with the CIE community on the All In Community platform. 
  • Apply for DASH’s Mentor funding program, for the opportunity to receive targeted technical assistance and subject area expertise from experienced organizations like CIE San Diego. 

Takeaways from the Interview 

In the words of Camey and Karis…

1. Due to COVID, more organizations are seeing the value of a CIE, and partners are realizing the full richness of a single longitudinal record. 

“ We have public housing authorities who are now willing to break through that bottleneck of housing vouchers and using CIE to verify income levels, rather than going back to the client in crisis who is not sheltered, and saying can you please provide me verification of your low-income status to see if you qualify for this service. It’s really the groups that have been resistant to being progressive and innovative, really having to be resourceful and using CIE to do that. ” 

– Camey Christenson 

2. COVID has inspired local foundations to fund differently, and a CIE can be leveraged for increased and effective resource dissemination. 

“ One of the most interesting things that I’ve seen is that our local foundations are now realizing that they need to get revenue to the streets as quick as possible. So rather than doing a competitive RFP, or doing the typical grant request, it’s looking at the systems that are already in place and then how do we use those systems to funnel money, resources to those that need it. We had a great opportunity to really leverage CIE’s electronic referrals to get folks to the resources and to really harness eleven-twelve different organizations that were providing financial resources to the community to make sure they were working together to not duplicate efforts.” 

– Camey Christenson

3. This is a moment for conversations, planning, and partnership- to build up our communities for the future. 

“ It’s been easier to get people to join the CIE and participate because we have this infrastructure, but other communities can leverage this opportunity to start having these conversations. The lesson learned is to use this as an example to push your work forward and really highlight the need for this type of work. I think that this is the perfect opportunity to have conversations with the government and with other organizations and say, ‘how can we prevent this from happening again?’ ”

– Karis Grounds 

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