National Obesity Rates Remain High: New Report

September 29th, 2014

Just in time for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently released their eleventh annual report, The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014 (formerly known as the F as in Fat report). The 2014 report was also supported by a grant from the RWJF.

The 136-page report found that adult obesity rates have increased in six states (Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wyoming). They have not decreased in any state.

State-by-state, forty-three states have an adult obesity rate of 25 percent or more. Mississippi and West Virginia have the highest rates at 35.1 percent. Colorado has the lowest rate, at 21.3 percent. According to the press release, this reporting period marks the first time a state adult obesity rate has surpassed 35 percent.

In addition, obesity rates are highest among Hispanics, blacks, Southerners, and people with lower incomes and less education. Read the rest of this entry »

New in the Journal: Public Opinion Polling on Health: What Two Foundations Learned

September 23rd, 2014

The September 2014 issue of Health Affairs contains a peer-reviewed GrantWatch article about the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), which is sponsored by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health (formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati).

In “For Two Regional Health Foundations, Returns from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll Are Worth the Investments,” Sarah E. Walsh of Eastern Michigan University and coauthors report that the two funders received more benefits than just the information generated from the telephone poll of Kentucky adults. The foundations have also gotten “increased name recognition and credibility with key stakeholders, including state policy makers and the media.” In addition, the relationship between the two foundations grew stronger as a result of jointly funding the poll.

The Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati has conducted the poll for the foundations every year since its inception in 2008. The authors state that the institute has a “strong track record of accuracy and credibility” from its work on the Ohio Poll, yet its bid was highly competitive, they note.

Of course, the poll has a cost. However, it is less than $120,000 per year, which is “modest,” the authors say. Read the rest of this entry »

People Post: Foundation Board and Staff News; Job Openings

September 18th, 2014

Leah McCall Devlin has been elected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF’s) board of trustees. Now a professor in the department of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, she also is a consultant to RTI International, a research institute. Devlin was North Carolina’s state health director, a position in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, from 2001 to 2009.

Susannah Fox is the RWJF’s new entrepreneur in residence, a spokesperson for the RWJF told me. This is a six-month position, although it may last longer. Fox formerly was an associate director at the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. There, “she combined traditional survey research with fieldwork in online patient communities.” Fox, “a health and technology storyteller and trend spotter,” will be “a valuable asset [to the funder’s] efforts to build a Culture of Health,” the spokesperson noted.

Bradley Gilbert, CEO of Inland Empire Health Plan, was elected to the board of directors of the California HealthCare Foundation, said a July press release. Inland Empire is a not-for-profit public health plan in California. The plan is based in Rancho Cucamonga. He started his career there as chief medical officer back in 1996. Gilbert holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Martha (“Marty”) Jimenez has been named executive vice president/counsel to the California Endowment. She will start on October 27. Her responsibilities will include being chief adviser to the endowment’s president and CEO, Bob Ross, “on governance matters, organizational and operational effectiveness and strategy”  and serving as legal counsel, according to an August 20 press release. Most recently, Jimenez has been senior counsel for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. Read the rest of this entry »

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