I just returned to Kansas City after spending four days in Los Angeles attending a Grantmakers in Health Annual Conference. Grantmakers in Health (GIH) is made up of some 450 health related funding foundations from throughout the United States. National foundations such as Robert Wood Johnson, Kaiser, and Kellogg are joined by much smaller regional and statewide funders to discuss how we can advocate for and support the health related needs in our communities. I was honored to be recently elected to the board of directors of this organization.
At the conference we heard lots of great speakers, received lots of data and information and got to network with outstanding grant makers from throughout the country who are involved in the same kind of work we are doing in KC. I learned that:
- Money does not solve problems—people solve problems and without working together nothing useful can be accomplished.
- Poverty is the common dominator for chronic health conditions. If you want to increase your chances of having a healthy life…don’t become poor. If we are serious about improving health conditions in our society we have to be serious about reducing the level of poverty that exists today.
- The attack on repealing the Affordable Health Reform Act is real and it is serious…but so is the support for the provisions of the law that provide health insurance coverage to the currently uninsured.
- The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to increase prevention activities to reduce obesity and prevent smoking. Every business and nonprofit organization should be encouraging their associates to participate in prevention activities. We must take responsibility for our own health outcomes.
- Instant recess is something more of us need to do during the work day. The concept is to take five minutes during meetings and during the workday to do modest stretching exercise that will cause us to be both more productive and healthier.
- Finally, I learned that I am blessed to live and work in the Kansas City area. It is always good to come home and be surrounded by folks who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work together to achieve a common goal.