Episode 32 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.


To grow and succeed for more than 145 years means an organization must regularly adjust to social and economic conditions while consistently adopting innovative practices that fulfill its mission and goals. This is certainly true for Heartland Family Service, a multi-service organization located in the metro Omaha and Council Bluffs areas of eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa. Two individuals leading this organization are John Jeanetta, president and CEO, and Greg Ryan, chief strategy officer. Both diligently work to evaluate and elevate the organization’s delivery of services within the focus areas of mental health and substance use disorder treatment and prevention, housing and financial stability, and child and family well-being.

Driving their efforts are Jeanetta and Ryan’s understanding that behavioral health is an underlying factor affecting people in each of Heartland’s service areas, “We're addressing those underlying traumas that oftentimes exist and exacerbate problems and lead to other needs for service delivery,” says Jeanetta. Part of that focus includes creating a staff culture that understands the role trauma plays for those they serve. This helps create an atmosphere where both clients and staff feel psychologically and physically safe, which is key to progress while also incorporating brain science into policies and procedures.

Jeanetta and Ryan are also working to gather and evaluate longitudinal data, which is needed to judge Heartland’s services’ effectiveness and whether programs should be kept or eliminated. “It's having the right data in that system to really guide the work that we're doing,” explains Ryan. To collect and interpret data, Heartland set up an evaluation department and hired specialists, including a mathematician, to systematize the information and clarify results. What they found was positive. “Most of our clients do make gains in safety, self-sufficiency, and well-being. And those gains do sustain after they're discharged from the agency,” said Ryan.

An additional benefit of having this information is its importance related to fostering partnerships with the health care sector. An example of this is Heartland’s current involvement in a planning grant created to set up a system of Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. This opportunity allows the agency to foster cross-sector collaboration by promoting data sharing that connects behavioral health to physical health outcomes and visa versa.

Heartland Family Service is adopting new methods, investing in staff and programming, and seeking partnerships that help integrate the social determinants of health into all aspects of community health and well-being. And by incorporating data into program structure and evaluation, the baseline measures for program success and cross-sector collaboration are being realized.

Commitments Celebration

This podcast recognizes Heartland Family Service as part of the Alliance’s Commitments in Action Celebration, which is commemorating five years since the release of the Commitments for High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations, a strategy playbook for excellent, distinctive, and influential community-based human serving organizations.

As part of the celebration, this podcast features Heartland Family Service, a member of the original Strategy Counts cohort, whose innovation and vision helped to establish the strategy framework. The podcast focuses on Evaluating Multi-Service Impact, which is intended to assess the impact of Heartland Family Service's theory of change, rooted in a trauma-informed approach to care.

Thank you to the Commitments in Action Celebration sponsors.

Listen to John Jeanetta and Greg Ryan of Heartland Family Service as they describe how they work to integrate the concept of trauma-informed care into their agency culture while also using longitudinal data to evaluate their efforts and foster partnerships with the health care sector in Episode 32 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and KVC Health Systems. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, and producer Erin Keltner, vice president of clinical services at KVC Health Systems, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

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Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.