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102 posts categorized "Health"

Sharing Knowledge, Finding Solutions

May 12, 2014

As Atlantic Philanthropies makes its final philanthropic investments, it is asking some important questions, including: "How can we all build on the advances and lessons learned from our thirty-plus years of grantmaking?" and "How can we make sure that valuable knowledge on issues that matter to us is not simply lost when we close our doors?"

The Foundation Center has partnered with Atlantic to help answer these questions, starting with an issue that crosses every physical, political, and social boundary in the world: improving access to palliative care.

The result of our partnership is IssueLab's newly launched "Improving Access to Palliative Care," a special collection of more than eighty documents that provides valuable insight into why millions of people cannot access the care they need. Gathered from nonprofits and foundations around the world, the documents in the collection are easily explored through an interface that lays out the key barriers to access and some of the recommended solutions.

Palliative_care_revised2

As we began work on the collection, I asked Gail Birkbeck, strategic learning and evaluation executive at Atlantic, why the foundation chose access to palliative care as an important topic to address in this way. "Since 2004, Atlantic has invested $58.5 million in palliative care covering a broad spectrum of activities, from building hospice facilities to funding professional staff associations and research institutes," said Birkbeck. "It's apparent from our work that, in general, how you die is a function of where you live. Especially in developing countries, there is limited access to palliative care."

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[Infographic] AIDS Today: The Facts, Figures, and Trajectory of a Global Illness

May 03, 2014

By October 2, 1985, the morning Rock Hudson died, the word was familiar to almost every household in the Western world.
     AIDS.
     Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome had seemed a comfortably distant threat to most of those who had heard of it before, the misfortune of people who fit into rather distinct classes of outcasts and social pariahs. But suddenly, in the summer of 1985, when a movie star was diagnosed with the disease and the newspapers couldn't stop talking about it, the AIDS epidemic became palpable and the threat loomed everywhere....

So begins And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic, Randy Shilts' masterful 1987 account of the epidemic's early days -- and the federal government's feckless response to the unfolding crisis.

Much changed in the decades that followed the publication of Shilts' book. The virus spread to every corner of the globe. Scientists and researchers, backed by foundations like the Aaron Diamond Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, raced to find a vaccine. Governments woke up to the threat. And, with the advent of anti-retroviral therapy, infection rates finally began to slow and then stabilize.

Today, as the infographic below illustrates, the news on the HIV/AIDS front is mostly positive. Indeed, over the last ten years, the global community, working together, has managed to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS by more than 50 percent for fully one-third of the people on the planet:

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Women on the Front Lines of ACA Implementation

March 24, 2014

(Ellen Liu serves as director of women's health at the Ms. Foundation for Women.)

Headshot_ellen_liuWomen have a lot to celebrate this month. March is Women's History Month, and March 23 marks the fourth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Over the past five years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has been funding outreach and advocacy efforts to ensure that women and women's health services are a central part of implementation of the ACA.

With nearly one in five women uninsured nationwide, the need for targeted outreach to women is undeniable. Low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, and young women are uninsured at substantially higher rates than the national average for all women.

Our work on the ACA has focused on ensuring that all women have access to preventive care, treatment, and services. We know that access to health care improves the well-being of women, resulting in greater financial stability, peace of mind, and lower rates of depression.

Given the proven benefits of health insurance, it has been especially important for the Ms. Foundation to address health equity and to support those who have the least access to affordable quality care. Through our Women 4 Health Care program, we have focused on the intersection of gender, race, and class, both by funding advocacy for inclusive, comprehensive health coverage and by targeting outreach to underserved women.

In the process, we have learned some valuable lessons about successful advocacy and outreach strategies. First, we have learned that we must engage at multiple levels to ensure that women are not left out. Our grantee partners have been active on various levels, serving on governance and administrative committees for their state exchanges; monitoring legislation that pertains to women's health; providing technical assistance to state exchanges to ensure they prioritize women, as well as strategizing about how best to reach women through outreach campaigns; and leading community efforts to link women and families to resources that can help them through the enrollment process.

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Philanthropy, the Affordable Care Act, and Boys and Men of Color

February 26, 2014

(Jordan Medina is health policy fellow at the Greenlining Institute, where he co-authored the report Pathways Out of Poverty: Boys and Men of Color and Jobs in the Health Sector.)

Headshot_jordan_medinaThe United States faces a crisis. We have a staggering racial wealth gap — for every $1 a white family has in assets, the median Latino family has about 7 cents, while the median black family has less than 6 cents. One reason for that gap is that too many boys and men of color are uneducated, disengaged, and unemployed.

This isn't a new problem, but changing racial demographics mean that politicians and business leaders must start paying attention to boys and men of color if America is to remain economically competitive in the twenty-first century. Fortunately, as with every problem, there's a solution. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents stakeholders with an incredible opportunity to create a culturally competent health workforce while simultaneously lowering the unemployment rate for boys and men of color. The question is: Do we have the courage and political will to see it through?

The ACA expands healthcare coverage to millions of Americans, mainly those too cash-poor to afford it on their own and those suffering from pre-existing conditions. People of color are disproportionately represented in both groups, while the influx of newly eligible consumers puts pressure on the healthcare and health services industry to expand its workforce to meet the increased demand for care. Given the high levels of unemployment in communities of color, considerable time and money should be spent figuring out ways to better prepare boys and men of color for jobs in the health sector.

This may sound like a difficult task, but a lot of the groundwork already has been laid. A new report I co-authored for the Greenlining Institute highlights some of the ways in which California, the nation's most populous state and long an incubator of public policy experiments, is forging ahead with plans to better integrate boys and men of color into the health workforce.

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[Infographic] Obamacare By the Numbers

February 08, 2014

Not since the Social Security Act was proposed, debated, and enacted in the 1930s has a federal statute generated has much controversy as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called the Affordable Care Act and better known as Obamacare.

Much of that debate, at least in the public arena, has been characterized by anecdote and emotion and has been light on facts. The infographic below, which was created by Healthcare AdministrationDegree.net, goes some way to filling that void. Regardless of your position on Obamacare, we're pretty sure you'll learn something from it.

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[Infographic] Movember: The Moustache and Beard-Growing Month

November 23, 2013

Did you know "Mo" is Australian slang for "mustache"? Me, neither. Did you know prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men? Or that the cure rate for prostate cancer, if detected early and treated in time, is 90 percent?

These and other stats come courtesy of the Best Health Degrees and this week's infographic, Movember: The Moustache and Beard-Growing Month.

The idea behind the campaign is to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues by encouraging men to grow a moustache for the thirty days of November. Participants, known as Mo Bros, register on the Movember.com site and start the month clean shaven. After that, they don't shave again until December 1 (and good luck to anyone who feels moved to snuzzle with them). There's a parallel effort for women, who are known as Mo Sistas and do everything to raise funds and awareness that Mo Bros do, without a mo. 

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 9-10, 2013)

November 10, 2013

Colorful-autumn-leavesOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Collaboration

Collaboration is hard, writes Third Foundation founder Jon Huggett on the Markets for Good blog. But your odds of success are greatly improved if you follow these six simple rules:

  1. Share hard goals, not values.
  2. Measure for improving, not proving.
  3. Choose the change, not who is in charge.
  4. Share credit for successful ideas, not put the "genius" on a pedestal.
  5. Spread ideas, not organizations.
  6. Embrace competition, don't discourage it.

Education

Created by the Great Schools Partnership, the Glossary of Education Reform defines and describes widely used school-improvement terms, concepts, and strategies. Useful -- and a sharp presentation.

Health/Healthcare

"Like so many freshly minted doctors, I thought I had all the answers," writes Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on LinkedIn. But an indigent female patient, admitted "late on a winter night, homeless and helpless," taught her she didn't. "My medical training never taught me that how and where a patient lives, learns, works, and plays has more to do with his or her health than the treatments we were diligently learning. No one ever suggested that society is just as much our patient as that person waiting for us in the examining room. Our care ended at the front door of the hospital -- and that wasn’t far enough...."

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Weekend Link Roundup (November 2-3, 2013)

November 03, 2013

Vote_buttonOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, but as far as Madhulika Sikka, executive editor for NPR News and author of A Breast Cancer Alphabet, is concerned, the month-long campaign long ago passed its sell-by date.

Fundraising

Social Velocity's Nell Edgington has a good post about the five "most egregious taboos in the nonprofit sector":

  1. Nonprofits shouldn't raise a surplus.
  2. Nonprofits shouldn't pay market-rate salaries.
  3. Nonprofits shouldn't demand that board members fundraise.
  4. Nonprofits shouldn't question donors.
  5. Nonprofits shouldn't invest in fundraising.

Edgington has much more to say in her post about each one, as well as a separate post and video on number 3, so check it out.

Impact/Effectiveness

On the Impact Investment Policy Collaborative site, Nick O'Donohoe, chief executive officer of UK-based Big Society Capital, the world's first social investment bank, shares some policy lessons learned in the process of establishing the bank.

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Foundations as a Catalyst for Improved Health Outcomes

October 25, 2013

(Garth Graham, MD, MPH, is president of the Aetna Foundation, which works to strengthen disease prevention programs, revitalize neighborhoods, support the arts, provide assistance to those in need, and empower the diverse voices that shape our nation.)

Headshot_garth_grahamThrough grants and support for research, foundations are uniquely positioned to serve as catalysts for social change in a way that conventional businesses and other nonprofits are not. We also operate in a space that provides us with the rare opportunity to bring together policy makers, corporations, experts, and community organizations to look holistically at an issue and promote the changes needed to achieve our goals.

As a physician and in my new role as the president of the Aetna Foundation, I am reminded every day of the responsibility my colleagues and I have to improve the health of children and adults and to make our healthcare system more equitable and effective. Over the years, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have strengthened disease prevention programs, helped revitalize neighborhoods, supported the arts, provided aid to those in need, and listened to the diverse voices that shape our nation.

In addition to promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and promoting integrated and well-coordinated health care, one of our priority areas is fighting obesity. While childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are starting to level off, 5 percent of American children and teens are severely obese, which, according to new information from the American Heart Association, puts them at risk for premature heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

We have worked, for example, to better understand and evaluate how changes in food access and choice affect consumption patterns and health outcomes. We have funded partners who look at different parts of the food supply chain to help us understand how best to influence positive behavior changes related to healthy eating. And through strategic partnerships with a range of organizations, we have been able to gather data about how these programs work.

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When It Comes to Health, Place Matters

October 02, 2013

(Dr. Brian D. Smedley is vice president and director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C.)

Headshot_brian_smedley.jpg_3The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is an achievement Americans can be proud of. Making sure that all our brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren, have proper health insurance makes us a stronger, more prosperous nation.

Amid this important change, however, we cannot ignore the work that remains to be done, especially in communities of color. Insurance cards are not enough.

To become a society with better health -- not just better health coverage -- we must also look at the role "place" plays in the lives of minority communities.

Where we live, work, and play is surprisingly predictive of lifespan. Within the City of Boston, for instance, people in some census tracts live thirty-three years less than those in nearby tracts. In Bernalillo County, New Mexico, the difference is twenty-two years.

Researchers are releasing Community Health Equity Reports at the Place Matters 2013 National Health Equity Conference today in Washington, D.C. Data from Baltimore, Birmingham, Chicago, New Orleans, and other cities demonstrates that where you live is a powerful determinant for how long you'll live.

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How Philanthropists Can Help Meet the Challenges of Healthcare Reform

September 30, 2013

(Grace Linhard is executive director and vice president of the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, which includes Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital.)

Headshot_grace_linhardAs a development executive for a growing hospital network, I hear many questions about national healthcare reform from philanthropists who are unsure how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect not-for-profit hospitals. With state health insurance exchanges set to open on October 1, it's too early to predict all the healthcare needs and gaps that will emerge as reforms are implemented. But many of the new challenges hospitals will face as a result of the law and other changes in the healthcare landscape are already clear -- especially in the areas of emergency care, care coordination, and primary care.

One emerging trend that surprises donors is the growing importance of emergency departments in healthcare delivery. Because one goal of the Affordable Care Act is to reduce costly visits to emergency departments for routine cases, it is sometimes assumed that emergency facilities will be less likely to require private support.

In fact, according to a RAND Corporation report, emergency departments, which are responsible for more than half of all hospital admissions, are and will remain key entry points to the healthcare system, "either facilitating or preventing hospital admissions." That is unlikely to change any time soon. A surge of patients who are now eligible for Medicaid under the ACA are likely to turn to emergency departments for primary health care, one California study finds. What's more, nearly one-quarter of the hospital emergency facilities in urban and suburban areas have closed in the last two decades, and that fact, along with hospital consolidations, adds to the pressure on existing facilities.

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Weekend Link Roundup (Sept. 7-8, 2013)

September 08, 2013

Back-to-school-signOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Communications/Marketing

On the Communications Network blog, Kate Emanuel, senior vice president of nonprofit and government relations at the Ad Council, offers some straightforward advice for organizations looking to create and/or leverage an online community:

  1. Think hard about whether you need an online community.
  2. Choose the right platform.
  3. Once you build it, be sure to promote it.
  4. Make your community work for you.

Disaster Relief

On LinkedIn, Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, shares a list of things every community needs after a disaster.

Education

Writing in the New York Times, Rob Reich, a professor of political science at Stanford University, argues that the "policies that govern private giving to public schools [are] perverse" and deepen the "inequalities they are...responsible for diminishing." How can we improve the situation? First, writes Reich, wealthy school foundations should honor the equality-promoting standards released by the National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education. Second, donors and school foundations should support progressive tax reform. And third, Congress should differentiate or eliminate charitable status for local education foundations. What do you think?

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Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (July 2013)

August 01, 2013

It's the first day of a new month, which means it's time to look back at the most popular posts on PhilanTopic over the last month:

What did you read/watch/listen in July that PhilanTopic readers should know about? Share your favorites in the comments section....

Top 10 Lessons Learned on the Path to Community Change

July 10, 2013

(Robert K. Ross, M.D. is president and CEO of the California Endowment. In part one of this two-part series, Ross shared three "aha" moments from the first two years of the the endowment's Building Healthy Communities initiative. This post originally appeared on the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog.)

Headshot_robert_rossAt times I step back and look at the BHC initiative and wonder, Could we have made it more complicated? Fourteen sites. Multiple grantees in each site. A core set of inter-linked health issues. Multiple state-level grantees. And the expectation that the parts will add up to something greater than the whole and catalyze a convergence that builds power at the community level and leads to greater impact.

But then supporting an agenda for social and community change requires multiple strategies operating in alignment; good data, message framing, and storytelling; influential messengers and convening and facilitating champions; innovative models; "grassroots and treetops" coordination; and meaningful community engagement.

Our Top Ten Lessons for Philanthropy

As we engaged in the BHC planning process, we tried in earnest to stick by a key aphorism, one I learned from colleague and mentor Ralph Smith at the Annie E. Casey Foundation: Make new mistakes. With that in mind, I want to share some lessons regarding planning and implementing a community-change initiative.

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Weekend Link Roundup (June 22-23, 2013)

June 23, 2013

Summer_sun_drawingOur weekly roundup of new and noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector....

Big Data

To get the most out of "big and open data," you need to know what the data is being used for and you need to be transparent, writes Abby Young-Powell, content coordinator for the Guardian's Voluntary Sector Network. In her post, Young-Powell shares data literacy advice from ten experts, including Mike Thompson, senior consultant at mySociety, who counsels nonprofits "to be clear about what question you're trying to answer before you set up your data collection and analysis activities," and James Noble, a professional social researcher at New Philanthropy Capital, who advises nonprofits not to "jump to their final outcome...without considering the intermediate steps that are vital to attribution and are often easier to measure."

Health

On the GrantCraft blog, Greater NYC for Change president Naomi Rothwell reflects on the critical support Atlantic Philanthropies provided over the years to efforts to get the Affordable Care Act passed. The New York City-based foundation is in the process of spending down its assets, however, and Rothwell wonders which foundation or foundations will step up to fill the critical role Atlantic has played in the social justice arena. What do you think? Share your thoughts here or in the comments section below.

Human Rights

On the Foundation Center's Transparency Talk blog, Caitlin Stanton, director of learning and partnerships at the Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, highlights findings from a new report on human rights grantmaking issued by the International Human Rights Funders Group in partnership with the Foundation Center. Among other things, the report, Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking, found that "foundation grantmaking to address these issues occurs on a global scale and is a widespread practice, with 703 foundations giving a total of $1.2 billion in grants for human rights causes in 2010." You can download the complete report (142 pages, PDF), free of charge, here.

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