Grantmakers In Health began 2023 by announcing an ambitious set of health policy priorities supporting four key goals—to advance health equity and social justice, to expand health care access and improve quality of care, to improve population health, and to promote community engagement and empowerment. Throughout the year, we aligned our work with our policy agenda, which was reflected in much of the programming at the 2023 GIH Annual Conference in Minneapolis, in our recent position statement on the 2023 Farm Bill, and in much of our other programming. Next week’s Fall Forum in Washington, DC, furthers GIH’s policy agenda, serving as a springboard for our continued engagement on policy in 2024.
The Health Policy Update is a new monthly newsletter produced in collaboration with Trust for America’s Health. Drawing on GIH’s policy priorities outlined in our 2023 policy agenda and our strategic objective of increasing our policy and advocacy presence, the Health Policy Update provides GIH Funding Partners with a range of federal health policy news.
When The Kresge Foundation’s Climate Change, Health and Equity (CCHE) initiative launched in 2018, community power mobilization was integral because too often the people closest to viable climate resilience solutions were excluded from decisionmaking. Since then, the leadership of CCHE’s community-based, health practitioner, and health institution partners has underscored the significance of community power to transform climate policy and public health practice.
It is hard to believe we are approaching the end of summer. It has been a bit of a blur, going from one conference to the next, and planning for fall meetings. For the second year since joining GIH, I was able to participate in our rural health road trip, an annual tradition started by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and National Rural Health Association in 2014.
More than a month after the 2023 Grantmakers In Health Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy, Advancing Philanthropy’s Commitment to the Long Game, I find myself reflecting on numerous aspects from presentations to conversations. Two quotes in particular have stayed with me, and apparently others, as I have heard one of them referenced at meetings I have attended since our conference.
President and CEO Cara V. James sat down with Jill Shumann, GIH’s new Vice President for Programming, to learn more about Jill’s long career in health and how her experience applies to GIH’s mission of advancing better health for all through better philanthropy. Jill discussed her formative years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, her work on international public health in Africa, and her recent tenure at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
In 2021, 1 in 6 high school students was electronically bullied or bullied at school. That same year, 22 percent of high school students, and 45 percent of students who identified as LGBTQ+, seriously considered attempting suicide. We know this information because of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which along with other state and local surveys, comprises the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
Spring in DC means the cherry blossom trees, daffodils, tulips, and other flowers are in bloom. For GIH, this spring also means new relationships are blooming. We have welcomed a few new Funding Partners, and it is my pleasure to announce the addition of three new colleagues at Grantmakers In Health.
When we launched our strategic plan, we noted that to achieve our vision of better health for all through better philanthropy we would need to use our voice to take a more active role to influence advocacy, policy, and funding in targeted areas that will advance health and make a lasting, measurable impact. Our current health “system” is not designed to promote health and wellness, but to provide care once a person is sick, and it is built on a foundation of inequity based on health coverage, or a lack thereof.
This year has been an exciting time of renewal and transition at Grantmakers In Health. We celebrated our 40th anniversary and began implementing an ambitious five-year strategic plan, that included work to identify when and how GIH would use its voice to advance policies that support better health for all and at long last returned to in-person convenings with our annual conference, Fall Forum, and other events.