November 17th, 2014
“We believe funders are game changers; we have a significant opportunity to change the health care landscape,” said Rick Ybarra, program officer for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, located in Austin, Texas. Ybarra, together with Octavio Martinez, executive director of the Hogg Foundation, and Enrique Mata, senior program officer for Paso del Norte Health Foundation, located in El Paso, Texas, met with three dozen foundation leaders in early November during Philanthropy Southwest’s 2014 Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The panelists sought to show funders how their differing efforts, ranging from small to large in scope, can add up to help eliminate mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.
The session built on the August 2013 Grantmakers In Health (GIH) special report, A Window of Opportunity: Philanthropy’s Role in Eliminating Health Disparities through Integrated Health Care. The report recommends four overarching approaches for funders to consider as ways to promote systems change and facilitate the integration of primary care and mental health services. These approaches have been shown to work in eliminating health disparities:
1) grant making: take risks, involve community members, include a broad range of grantees, fund planning and preparation efforts, focus on evidence, partner with other organizations;
2) educating: develop internal expertise at foundations, emphasize research and evaluation, share knowledge and lessons learned with stakeholders;
3) convening: serve as a neutral convener, bring experts together, form learning communities, provide safe opportunities for “daring dialogues”; and
4) advocating: support policy fellowships, host a legislative summit, promote policies for sustainability of funded projects, facilitate a policy workgroup, be a voice for cultural and linguistic competency.
Panelists emphasized that regardless of the approach, it is important for foundation staff and trustees to see firsthand the needs in their communities. Read the rest of this entry »