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Grantmakers in Health Conference: Support Partnerships and Innovation to Improve Health Care Delivery

posted Mar 20, 2013, 11:09 AM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Mar 20, 2013, 11:09 AM by Julio Zaldivar ]

Jessica Dunn cropped

by Jessica Dunn
Greenlining Health Equity Fellow
Mar 19, 2013

Grantmakers in Health (GIH) held their annual convening last Wednesday through Friday (March 13-15) in San Francisco with a focus on how foundations can be “change agents” in this time of health care reform in the US.  

The breakout sessions ranged from how foundations can start moving into the realm of health and social justice to creating strategies to address specific health gaps in communities.  

Each day began with speakers highlighting different issues of health and how various mediums are used to address them. One speaker, Rebecca Onie, spoke about the need for health care systems to not only treat illness, but also shift to ensure that patients’ basic needs are met, such as food security, since an individual’s health is dependent on their access to resources.  

In addition, she discussed how foundations have the potential to influence systems change in health care delivery through partnerships and innovation, not reinvention. 

The recurring theme through every plenary and breakout session was for foundations to not reinvent the wheel, but instead support programs that are already doing the work.  By looking to colleagues from other organizations that have both succeeded and failed in their endeavors to enact change in communities, effective and reflective strategies can be executed moving forward.  

In light of the United States’ health inequities being put on full display for the world to see, an opportunity for useful change has finally presented itself and it must not be wasted.  If the opportunity is squandered, then we have failed all those who need champions to honestly address the roots of health disparities, electing instead to put a Band-Aid over a growing wound with hopes it will mend itself.