Realizing the Promise of Spring: Foundations Should Consider Changing How They Do Business

April 16th, 2012

The author, now a consultant to foundations and nonprofits, has held several positions in philanthropy, including executive vice president of a large California health foundation.

Spring is the season for the denizens of philanthropic foundations to gather at their traditional watering holes to meet and greet and share stories with one another. Last month, Grantmakers In Health assembled in sunny Baltimore, while Grantmakers for Effective Organizations braved somewhat more dicey weather conditions to meet in Seattle. This month, the grand Council on Foundations travels to Los Angeles for its annual conclave.

It’s traditional to invite inspiring speakers to address these assembled multitudes to encourage us to magnify and expand the impact of our work in philanthropy. Whether it’s collective impact or impact investing or whatever the big idea of the moment is, considerable buzz is generated, blog posts are published, tweets are tweeted, and then we return to our respective corners of the country. What’s waiting when we arrive home is often a pile of grant applications and files awaiting action. The pressure to meet the deadline for the next board meeting too often trumps our best intentions to apply those new ideas from the conferences to the way we do business.

Meanwhile, the context in which we operate is in chronic crisis mode. The economy may be slowly recovering, but the human toll of unemployment and foreclosure and lack of health insurance and underperforming schools continues to mount. Governments are stretched to the limit in their ability to maintain even basic services. To someone observing the situation in the United States from afar, it would be clear that this is not a time for business as usual. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety-Net Clinics Try Out the Patient-Centered Medical Home Concept: Lessons from Kansas City

April 10th, 2012

The president and CEO of a Midwest health foundation relates what she and colleagues have learned thus far from its initiative.

Five years ago, the REACH Healthcare Foundation hosted a day-long forum in Kansas City, Missouri, for local safety-net health care providers on a concept that was then relatively new to us and to many other health grantmakers—the patient-centered medical home. Melinda Abrams, vice president, Patient-Centered Coordinated Care at the Commonwealth Fund, traveled to Kansas City to talk about medical home start-up programs and Commonwealth’s experience in advancing the medical home model of primary care.

Approximately seventy individuals, from hospital and clinic directors to physicians and other allied health professionals, participated in our 2007 forum. Most were unfamiliar with the concept of a medical home; many were skeptical that a model being tested in private practices could work in a safety-net environment. Their concerns included limited staffing, outdated records systems and inadequate technical support, and lack of reimbursement for services beyond direct care. Few people who attended the forum that day had a clear sense of how this work would help their practice and improve patient health outcomes.

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Ever Thought about Working in Health Philanthropy? More Openings to Check Out.

April 5th, 2012

If you are taking some time off this week for Easter or Passover, you may want to dust off that resumé and apply for one of these positions. I have included a few interesting points about each position, but read the full position description for many more details.

These jobs were posted on foundation websites in early April. You may want to verify that the positions are still open before applying, as websites can quickly change or become outdated.

Senior Program Officer (Human Capital), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Princeton, NJ. The Human Capital team at the RWJF “focuses on the people who lead and work in our health and health care systems.” Its aim is to attract, develop, and engage a diverse and well-trained workforce. Those applying for this position must write a brief essay and, if hired, must be able to travel. Please read the education and experience requirements carefully. The deadline for applying is Monday, April 16. Click on this link for more info.

Senior Program Officer, Better Chronic Disease Care (program), California HealthCare Foundation, which is based in Oakland, CA. This program focuses on better care delivery models for people with complex chronic disease. The first job responsibility listed is to “play a major role [along with the program director] in leading the foundation’s work in developing and promoting more effective care delivery” for people eligible for both Medicare and California Medicaid (dual eligibles). Read the education and experience requirements carefully. (The job is in Oakland, and the funder says “no relocations, please.”) Click on this link for more info.

Program Officer–Food and Community, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI. Here is a bit of background. This position is in the foundation’s Food and Community program, which is “dedicated to ensuring that all children have healthy first food experiences and ongoing access to nutritious, high-quality food.” The program is “designed to drive social change through a combined community/food systems approach.” The ideal candidate for this position will have a master’s degree and eight to ten years of relevant experience (see the summary). A person with “deep expertise in sustainable food systems,” along with an “informed understanding of related public health implications” is sought. Also, the ideal candidate must be willing and able to travel for this job. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 30. Click on this link for more info.

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