Last month I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Georgia and North Carolina with key partners in rural health. Our “rural road trip” was a refreshing journey that provided inspiration for philanthropy’s work and a reminder that ensuring better health for all must engage all rural communities.
It was so wonderful to see everyone in Miami at the 2022 Grantmakers In Health annual conference, especially those who joined us for the first time, and to learn more about the work you are doing to achieve better health for all through better philanthropy. The conference occurred at an important moment for our country. As Admiral Rachel Levine, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, said during our strategy session on advancing LGBTQ health equity “even after decades of social progress, the most vulnerable among us continue to suffer.” The conference provided an opportunity for us to reconnect, to reflect on the considerable health challenges facing the United States, and to learn and grow together as we explore and share solutions.
Much has changed since Grantmakers In Health (GIH) last convened in 2019. Over the past three years, more than 1 million Americans have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Large cracks in our public health, healthcare systems, and our safety net programs are apparent. In addition, pervasive inequities across all facets of society have increased. The country is divided, and this division continues to hamper our ability to address one of the greatest health challenges our modern world has ever faced.
Aligning Efforts to Achieve Equitable Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health and Well-Being for Children and Youth
A mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) health crisis among children and youth has emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting a significant concern and an opportunity for improving care and support for children and young people. In March 2022, Nemours Children’s Health and Grantmakers In Health cosponsored an invitational virtual meeting of funders focused on opportunities for systems change. Feedback from the convening was used to develop this report, which issues a call to action for philanthropic organizations and public-sector partners that are ready to move forward in improving MEB health. It describes existing philanthropic and federal MEB initiatives based on information gathered from policy scans, interviews, focus groups, and a convening of philanthropic organizations. Finally, it offers a potential portfolio of aligned strategies for private- and public-sector partners to consider.
May is Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month, celebrating the fastest-growing racial group in the United States. Recent priorities for grantmakers have focused on racial equity, health and well-being, and immigrant rights. Yet, investments for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have been under-resourced and deprioritized, receiving only 0.26 percent of philanthropic dollars and 0.17 percent of research funding from the National Institutes of Health.
To better understand how philanthropy has responded to these challenges over the course of the pandemic, Grantmakers In Health and Grantmakers In Aging launched a joint survey in November 2021 to learn how health and aging funders are addressing COVID-19 related needs among older adult populations and potential long-term impacts on future grantmaking.
April marks National Minority Health Month. It is a time for us to educate ourselves on the health challenges facing communities of color and other vulnerable populations, and to reflect on the progress we have made towards advancing health equity and what more we must do to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
What is the civic health of the communities you serve? Are community members equitably engaged in democratic processes and civic life? How might increased levels of civic engagement influence the distribution of public sector resources, population health outcomes, and health inequities? Is it possible to imagine transformative changes in community health absent a meaningful shift in community power and civic participation?
Last year, New York State passed the most sweeping parole reform measure in the country. The Less Is More Community Supervision Revocation Reform Act has far-reaching implications for the health and liberty of tens of thousands of people every year, by making critical changes in how the state handles noncriminal violations of parole conditions.