Poor performance in achieving population health goals is well-noted — approximately 10% of public health measures tracked are met. Less well-understood is how to create conditions that produce these goals. This article examines some of the factors that contribute to this poor performance, such as lack of shared responsibility for outcomes, lack of cooperation and collaboration, and limited understanding of what works. It also considers challenges to engaging stakeholders at multiple ecologic levels in building collaborative partnerships for population health. Grounded in the Institute of Medicine framework for collaborative public health action, it outlines 12 key processes for effecting change and improvement, such as analyzing information, establishing a vision and mission, using strategic and action plans, developing effective leadership, documenting progress and using feedback, and making outcomes matter. The article concludes with recommendations for strengthening collaborative partnerships for population health and health equity.