Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Endowment for Health Begins Work in the Areas of Early Childhood, Elder Health

Five-year strategic plan includes support for four vulnerable populations as well as enhancing statewide health-policy capacity

Concord, NH—The Board of Directors of the Endowment for Health, the state’s largest health foundation, announced today its five-year focus including new work in the fields of early childhood development and elder health.  These new priority areas have been added to the Endowment’s existing work in children’s behavioral health and health equity, which will continue for the next five years.  Additionally, the foundation will provide capacity-building support aimed at strengthening health policies in New Hampshire.   

“Current research points to an increasingly aging population in our state,” said Endowment for Health Board Chair Sandra Pelletier.  “Additionally, recent census data indicates that New Hampshire’s childhood poverty rate is rising faster than anywhere else in the country.  We also know that the state’s future population growth will come primarily from low-income families.  The significance of these trends has crucial implications for New Hampshire’s residents and our state’s economy.  These trends present major challenges to be sure, but they also present significant opportunities for a healthy future,” she said. 

“The Endowment’s shift in focus reflects a rigorous process aimed at determining how best to deploy resources for maximum social impact,” said Endowment for Health Strategic Planning Committee Chair and Board member Randy Foose.  “In addition to our extensive research review, we solicited feedback from hundreds of community partners.  From this, we’ve arrived at a strategy that we believe will support our mission and vision,” he said.

“The Endowment’s mission to ensure the health of all Granite Staters remains unchanged,” emphasized Endowment for Health President Steve Rowe, adding that the foundation’s priority on vulnerable and underserved populations will continue.  “In addition to the mission, we’ve articulated a new, aspirational vision to help guide our future work,” he added.

Our Vision:  Good Health and Realized Potential for All -- New Hampshire’s prosperity depends on healthy people, strong families and vibrant communities.  We envision a culture that supports the physical, mental and social well-being of all people – through every stage of life

The Endowment’s priorities focus on four population groups and a health-policy capacity-building initiative over the next five years:

  1. Improving the Behavioral Health of NH’s Children and Their Families – This existing priority focuses on NH children and youth, ages 0 – 21, and their families, who have behavioral health care needs, ensuring access to timely and appropriate services and supports.
  1. Advancing Health Equity for Racial, Ethnic and Language Minorities – Work continues in this existing priority to ensure that everyone in New Hampshire has a fair opportunity to attain his or her full health potential, regardless of their racial, ethnic or language group.
  1. Ensuring the Healthy Development of Young Children – This new initiative will begin with a year of planning as the foundation works to fully understand the early childhood field and identify the Endowment’s future investments in it.
  1. Ensuring the Health and Dignity of Elders – Another new initiative, this work will focus on fully understanding the elder health field and identifying the Endowment’s future investment in it.
  1. Health Policy Capacity Building – This redefined initiative includes a significant amount of work that the Endowment previously funded and will continue to support to address economic barriers to health.  The focus of this work is further defined to promote NH health policies that meet the needs of the state’s residents, especially the vulnerable and underserved.

The Endowment’s five-year plan calls for a ramp-up of support in the areas of early childhood and elder health, while tapering back on its investments in children’s behavioral health and health equity as those fields build strong and cohesive coalitions which can be sustained over time.  Additionally, health-equity concepts will be woven into all of the Endowment’s future work as an overarching philosophy.

“The Endowment for Health is more than just a grantmaker,” concluded Rowe.  “Stakeholders resoundingly told us that our greatest contribution is our ability to shine a light on major social problems facing our state while bringing people together to collectively plan for and solve those problems,” he said.