Over the past five years, Northwest Health Foundation has organized our work around three areas of focus:
We are currently conducting a strategic planning process to ensure that our resources are achieving the greatest possible impact for the health of the people in our region. Our new work will be framed around the idea that healthy "beginnings" — prenatal through youth— are necessary to achieve healthy communities across the lifespan. While our core principles remain the same, we will no longer be organizing our programs around health care reform, public health and health workforce.
Until our new strategy is introduced in fall 2013, we invite you to learn more about our previous work, conducted in partnership with community, to help impact our region in the areas of public health, health care reform and health workforce advocacy and grantmaking.
Public Health: The infrastructure that allows us all to thrive
Research has shown that medical care accounts for only about ten percent of our nation’s overall health status. The other ninety percent is largely due to the way in which we structure our society to create opportunities for health into our day-to-day lives.
When the benefits of our public health system are not fully understood by policymakers and the public, the result is an inadequate investment in the infrastructure needed to implement proven prevention strategies. Working in cooperation with nonprofit advocacy organizations and governmental public health, the Northwest Health Foundation has been working to change that, through grantmaking, partnerships, and advocacy.
The Foundation has served as a credible, nonpartisan convener to foster discussions both online and in person.
Our efforts in physical activity and nutrition have been intended to help shape the policies and environments that promote active living and healthy eating. Simply disseminating facts as a stand-alone strategy does not change people’s conduct. As long as the environment – cheap junk food, unsafe or unhealthy neighborhood neighborhoods, etc. – remains “obesogenic,” efforts to steer people toward healthier lifestyles will continue to fail.
Because significant health-influencing factors occur even outside the public health system, our donor-advised Kaiser Permanente Community Fund (KPCF) invests in projects and initiatives that address far-reaching social determinants of health. This fund focuses on issues as wide-ranging as poverty, racial and ethnic health disparities, community-building and affordable access to safe and healthy places to live, work, play and learn — all of which, believe it or not, can have a much more profound influence on our health than anything the medical system can provide.
Health Care Reform: Closing the fairness gap
The Northwest Health Foundation believes that all people should have equal access to a basic level of quality health care.
Working with our community partners in health care reform advocacy, we have helped Oregon create a more fair health care system where more people are now able go to the doctor when they need to, which is the norm throughout Europe, Canada, Japan, and many other nations.
The Foundation has supported organizations that work to increase access to health care, both within the existing health care system and through a process of grassroots engagement in health reform policy change.
Northwest Health Foundation has been working toward reform within the existing system by funding innovative models for delivering care. We have funded organizations making progress in implementing a "primary care home model," which seeks to improve the way services are delivered by a team of providers, coordinated within the health care setting and with other services in the community.
Northwest Health Foundation has made a difference through responsive, competitive grant cycles, and through convening activities. These activities play a vital a role while consuming fewer grant dollars. In 2008 we brought together a number of health funders that were unaware of the primary care home model and connected these funders with groups that are currently implementing the primary care home model
Brilliant minds and tireless advocates already have devoted countless hours to the issue of health care access, and Northwest Health Foundation has funded several of them through ourhealth care reform programs.
Thanks to the groundwork these grassroots organizations have established, we remain cautiously optimistic that real progress will continue to be made on this important issue of social justice and equity.
Health Workforce: Building the Workforce for the 21st Century
Over the past decade, the healthcare workforce needs in our region have provided a significant opportunity for investment and development. Northwest Health Foundation has been committed to helping develop strategies to ensure that our human resources reach their full potential. We have supported the nursing workforce in Oregon, and our efforts led to many collaborations and investments resulting in a transformation of nursing education, development of nurses to lead healthcare reform, and an increase in the racial and ethnic diversity of the nurse workforce.
The Foundation has supported the organizational development of organizations as well as investing in innovation in education, practice and leadership projects. We also work on policy issues that support the development of the healthcare workforce. In order to make progress on the workforce issue, we now work closely with policy-makers and other foundations in Oregon to meet the challenges we see ahead.
In addition to our local work, Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) is a collaborative partnership between Northwest Health Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. PIN is a multi-year, multi-million dollar national investment in the America’s nursing workforce. The program supports the capacity, involvement and leadership of local foundations to advance the nursing profession in their own communities. Through PIN, local philanthropic foundations act as catalysts to develop and execute strategies needed to build a highly skilled nursing workforce by testing innovative ideas locally and share them nationally.