As we work towards a more just and equitable future, we must ensure that we have the data needed to measure the things we are trying to improve. It is no longer acceptable to say we do not know.
The need to develop and implement a comprehensive integrated plan to address our health workforce grows stronger every day. As some communities experience their highest COVID-19 case rate since the start of the pandemic, with providers and public health workers stretched to the breaking point, we must also devote time and resources to ensure that we have a highly trained, diverse health care and public health workforce to meet our future health needs.
If we are truly committed to a better world, life should not return to normal for any of us. It is against this backdrop that we will come together for GIH’s Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy from June 8-11.
The American Rescue Plan Act provides $1.9 trillion in programs and tax policies across nearly all sectors of government to provide relief to individuals, families, communities, and states. There are several ways in which philanthropy can help to minimize the risk that we squander this opportunity to strengthen our communities.
The road ahead will require continued action and collaboration on complex and challenging issues—and we must apply the lessons of the past year to maximize our chances of building a more just and equitable future.
Events over the last year put a spotlight on the significant health, economic, and social disparities in our country. In the few days that have elapsed in 2021, that spotlight has focused in on the division our country faces, fueled by mistrust.
This year has placed a spotlight on many things, including the importance of leadership during times of crisis and uncertainty. I recently had the pleasure of welcoming the newest cohort of fellows to the Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy. We spent three afternoons together learning about each other’s leadership style, talking about how to foster more diverse and inclusive work environments, discussing how to advance health equity through the work of their foundations, and engaging community leaders in a discussion on power sharing and how to more effectively partner with community organizations to effect change.
Investment in rural communities and in organizations led by people of color is disproportionately low compared to their population size and need. There are relatively small groups of dedicated researchers, advocates, and policymakers committed to progress in each area. Funders can bring these groups together, thereby creating a force multiplier effect that could lead to significant improvements in health for all.
As we head into Fall, let us take a moment to rest, recharge, and to care for one another so that we are prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Let us also remain hopeful, knowing that together we can accomplish anything.
The pandemic and ensuing social unrest have led to myriad conversations focused on how to use this moment to create a more equitable health system, rebuild our public health infrastructure, and reimagine police practices. I would encourage us to also consider this moment an opportunity to rethink our educational system, given the strong relationship between education, income, wealth, and health.