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High Impact Health Policy: What’s on the Agenda?

October 20, 2009

My morning email inboxes were jam-packed as usual, though my eyes were drawn to two “Content Alerts” from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The first alert gave details of a September 2009 webcast on the Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity website, which features Dr. Risa LaVizzo Mourey, the President and CEO of RWJF. In the webcast, Dr. Mourey is interviewed by Mary Jo Walsh and their discussion highlights RWJF’s plans for influencing  current public policy to improve access to health care and healthy lifestyle resources for low-income populations. Dr. Mourey also mentions the use of social media for raising awareness of these efforts. See below for social media resources.

The second alert announced the collaboration of RWJF and Pew Charitable Trusts for the Health Impact Project. RWJF has granted $7.2 million for up to 15 projects over a term of four-and-a-half years. This project, led by Dr. Aaron Wernham, will focus on promoting the use of health impact assessments for policy decisions across various sectors, as not all take health outcomes into account in their decision-making.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a strong presence within the Penn community, with the Health & Societies Scholars Program as well as the Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Risa LaVizzo Mourey is not only an alumna of the Wharton School but also of the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program.

These are but a few resources to follow on the current debate of changing health policy and how the current economic downturn has affected the most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Our upcoming guide on philanthropy in the downturn has a section dedicated to health, which highlights ways in which philanthropic gifts can be leveraged with existing public programs and nonprofit models to help those in need.

Note: You can follow the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity on twitter here: @RWJF and @povertynews. Pew Research Center, which receives much of its financial support from Pew Charitable, is also on twitter here: @pewresearch. In addition, you can watch a video of Dr. Risa LaVizzo Mourey discuss her ideas on Philanthropy on BigThink‘s website. Katherina Rosqueta, executive director at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, is featured on BigThink as well.

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