In the past 15 years, Northwest Health Foundation has made progress in the pursuit of our mission.
We have refined our community-based partnership model, fostered policy advocacy and leadership development, and demonstrated measurable improvement in health outcomes and health equity, both locally and statewide.
We have invested more than $70 million, and formed partnerships that have produced positive change in nursing, public health, health care transformation and the root causes of health and wellness.
This is a history worth celebrating. We have summarized our past work here.
Everyone deserves access to basic, quality healthcare. With around 600,000 uninsured people in Oregon, and thousands of families facing bankruptcy and even death from lack of access to health insurance, Northwest Health Foundation joined many in advocating for reform. Through our Health Reform and Advocacy program, Northwest Health Foundation supported efforts and organizations working to increase access to healthcare. We focused on increasing grassroots engagement at the statehouse to expand coverage and redesigning the healthcare system to deliver better, more cost-effective care. The result? Oregon is pioneering healthcare reform.
Healthcare Workforce & Infrastructure
A better workforce means better healthcare. Northwest Health Foundation has supported strategies to ensure that our human resources in healthcare can reach their full potential. We have helped in transforming nursing education, inspiring nurses to lead healthcare reform, and increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the nurse workforce. These local efforts were a springboard for our national PIN partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We also have supported hospitals, clinics and service providers purchase needed equipment and supplies.
Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN)
Nurses are the largest component of the health care workforce, and their vigilance is critical to keeping patients safe and healthy. When people are most vulnerable, nurses are the health care providers they are most likely to encounter, spend the greatest amount of time with and depend on for their recovery. Partners Investing in Nursing's Future, our ten-year partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation spanning from 2005 to 2015, addressed the nursing crisis (a national shortage of experienced nurses).
Through our Community-Based Participatory Research program, we helped communities and researchers collaborate in order to generate meaningful data and then use that research to advocate for change. We also supported health and medical professionals in pursuing academic and clinical research to improve health.
Inspiring healthier communities
Meyer Memorial Trust, Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Northwest Health Foundation share a vision of a food system that is healthier, more equitable, sustainable and economically robust. In 2011, we agreed that we could achieve more of an impact by collaborating with each other and our respective grantees to pursue this vision. We joined with the national Convergence Partnership (a collaboration of seven national funders and the CDC) to create a pooled fund at Northwest Health Foundation which allowed us to both expand the communities and constituents engaged in food systems issues, and to convene all of our partners to identify opportunities for collective impact.
Healthy Eating, Active Living
Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, conditions where we’re born, learn and live limit our choices and our chances to be healthy. We know this includes obesity, in which many factors influence the choices people make about eating and exercise. Research has shown that people are much more likely to maintain healthy weight when they can choose to live in neighborhoods where healthy food is available, walking and biking is safe, and parks and other community resources are easily accessed. Northwest Health Foundation's Healthy Eating, Active Living program invested in community-specific strategies to address the root causes that promote healthy eating and active living.
Public Health Infrastructure
Public Health, as a system of public and nonprofit agencies, can play an important role in identifying and promoting policies that help make our communities healthier places to live, work, learn, and play. Our Public Health Infrastructure program helped public health departments in public agencies and tribes become accredited and engage with Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations to more effectively meet the needs of communities.
Community Health Priorities
We believe communities are best equipped to determine their unique vision for health. The goal of our Community Health Priorities program was to engage people across our region to articulate a vision of a healthier life for everyone, and then develop policies that help achieve that vision. What did this look like? In one example, a group of residents from the Corvallis and Monroe areas sought to address health inequalities locally. They sponsored community forums to discuss health inequality using the Unnatural Causes documentary series as a tool. They trained local leaders to facilitate, documented meetings for airing by podcast and on public TV. This forums inspired action, leading to members approaching County representatives to advocate for better access to healthy foods. This led to a new bus line that improves transportation options and access to grocery stores.
Partnering with Communities
LEARNING TOGETHER, CONNECTING COMMUNITIES
NWHF has made a commitment to promote equity in the areas of race/ethnicity, geography and disability. In 2014-2015, NWHF funded eight organizations representing communities of people with disabilities. We wanted to strengthen the capacity of communities of people with disabilities to self-organize, and to build relationships with organizations and communities for a broader conversation about disability, race/ethnicity and geography. We also wanted to increase our grant making to communities of people with disabilities, and learn how to be a better partner to these communities in the future.