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Chronic Diseases, Global Health, Health Insurance, & More: Foundation Blogs Round-Up



March 7th, 2012

Here are some blog posts that caught my eye this week, as I sifted through foundation blogs I follow. The descriptions are brief—just to give you a flavor of what the post is about.  This is a short week in the office for me, as I head over to nearby Baltimore for the Grantmakers In Health annual meeting. Hope to see some of you there!

Chronic Diseases

“The Care Coordination Imperative: Responding to the Needs of People with Chronic Diseases,” Anne-Marie Audet and Shreya Patel of the Commonwealth Fund, on the Commonwealth Fund Blog, February 21. The authors note that “coordination is a multifaceted activity that requires effective participation among many different [health care] professionals, service organizations, and—of course—the patient” and tell readers how we can “get it together.”

Foundation Staffers: FYI

“Making Change by Working Together,” by Chris Palmedo of the Northwest Health Foundation, February 6, on the Communications Network’s blog. Palmedo, who is director of public affairs at this Oregon-based foundation, comments that he is “constantly challenged—not only by [foundation] program staff but even by many of our grantees—to take full advantage of every communications vehicle necessary to seek the broad policy and institutional changes that continue to elude us.” This might mean foundation staff writing newspaper op-eds, blog posts, and letters to editors. Northwest Health Foundation funds in Oregon and certain parts of Washington State. (Editor’s notes to readers: Thanks much to the Foundation Center’s PhilanTopic blog for alerting me to Palmedo’s post. Also, readers, GrantWatch Blog invites posts from foundation staffers on health policy–related topics!)

Global Health

“Polio in India: We Have Won the Battle but the War Is Not Over,” by Devendra Khandait of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, March 1, on the Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog. The author reports that the World Health Organization announced recently that India has been officially removed from the polio endemic country list. The country went for a year “without a reported care of wild polio virus.” He adds that we must still be vigilant about polio in India going forward.

“Timely Treatment for Drug-Resistant TB in Kenya,” by Erin Howe of the Open Society Foundations, March 2, on the Open Society Foundations Blog. In this post the author (who works on the Public Health Watch initiative of the Open Society Public Health Program) relates an anecdote about a patient, in Kenya, with tuberculosis. Howe notes the important advocacy role of civil society organizations in keeping governments “accountable for designing and implementing policies that meet patients’ needs.”

“U.S. Congress Faces Funding Decision on HIV, Malaria,” by Kaitlin Christenson of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, March 1, on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog. Describing a Kenyan mother with HIV and her baby and how “life-altering” effects of research funded by the United States helped them, the author advocates for Congress’s continued investment in global health research. Such research “has historically received strong bipartisan support in Congress,” she notes. Also, the coalition, a Gates grantee, has posted a summary of Christenson’s post on its web site.

Health Care for the Elderly

“Medications and Aging,” by Nora OBrien-Suric of the John A. Hartford Foundation, February 17, on the Hartford Foundation’s Health AGEnda blog. In this short post, the author reminds us of the problems involved when seniors are prescribed multiple pills—they can be difficult to remember as well as afford, and they can unpleasant bad side effects and interactions with other drugs that are “magnified” in this population. She also touts a recent issue of the American Society on Aging’s journal Generations focusing on “the controversies surrounding medication use in older adults,” and she mentions some Hartford initiatives in this area.

“Website Kickoff: 2.0!,” by Chris Langston of the Hartford Foundation, March 6, on the foundation’s Health AGEnda blog. Langston announces the foundation’s reconceived and redesigned web site. Check it out.

Health Insurance Coverage

“Freelancers Union Expands Affordable and Stable Coverage for Independent Workers,” by Nancy Barrand of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), February 24, on the RWJF’s Pioneering Ideas blog. Barrand says that 30 percent of the workforce earns a living as contractors, freelancers, and temps with no employer-provided benefits, including health insurance. The Freelancers Union, which has received three grants over the years from the RWJF, will launch three Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs), which are “nonprofit, consumer-governed insurance companies” envisioned in the Affordable Care Act of 2010. How will the organization do this? On February 21 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded it federal loans. The CO-OPs will be located in New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.

Mental Health

“Love, Peace and Suicide: The Loss of Soul Train Visionary Creator, Don Cornelius,” by Vicky Coffee-Fletcher of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, February 3, on the Hogg Blog. The author’s post contains a tribute to Cornelius, who created the TV series Soul Train. Cornelius took his own life. Coffee-Fletcher notes that “suicide is a preventable public health issue” that affects individuals, families, and communities. The post contains statistics on it and suicide prevention resources.

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