American’s hopes & fears about the future of health & well-being

by | Nov 4, 2021 | Special Report | 0 comments

The Rippel Foundation releases groundbreaking report highlighting Americans’ hopes and fears about the future of health and well-being
In conversations and survey findings, 7,500 Americans express greatest concerns about getting basic needs met

From the Rippel Foundation

The Rippel Foundation published Creating an Equitable Future for Health and Well-Being, a report on major findings from its FORESIGHT initiative. FORESIGHT is an equity- focused futuring project that aims to envision a new future for health and well-being—and how we get there, together.

FORESIGHT, launched by 17 philanthropies, engaged futurists to identify the major forces that could shape the future of health and well-being in the United States. Then, in group sessions with diverse individuals across the political spectrum, these findings were shaped into a set of four potential scenarios. Short videos illustrating these scenarios were presented to thousands of Americans who shared their reactions and ideas and told FORESIGHT what excites and worries them about the future of health and well-being in the U.S.

Read the Report HERE!

When asked to envision a new future, many of the 7,500 individuals reached, particularly those in historically marginalized communities, often returned to the basics: economic security; community infrastructure; a health care system that serves them; a healthy planet; and access to the most essential things they need to thrive, including housing, food, and education.

FORESIGHT took care to ensure that the voices of historically marginalized communities were heard as a part of this process. This intentional centering was made possible thanks to the partnership of Marnita’s Table, a Minnesota-based nonprofit specializing in Intentional Social Interaction—ensuring that under-resourced communities are included, and their input valued, in conversations where decisions are being made.

“The future is now. We are already living in a world where we’re reacting to crises that have a devastating impact on health and well-being—where the COVID pandemic has shed more light on existing health inequities and where entire communities are deluged by climate change. So, business as usual isn’t good enough. We need to think now about what’s coming and how to design for the future, so that these and other threats to well- being don’t become even worse, especially for communities already disproportionately impacted,” said Laura.

Landy, President and CEO of The Rippel Foundation. “The game-changing trends that FORESIGHT explored, including technological, scientific, and environmental innovations, may have a powerful impact on future health, but only if they don’t bypass the people facing the greatest disparities—which is the concern expressed by many of the people FORESIGHT spoke with. For that to change, we need to break long-held habits, focus our energy on new directions, think ahead, and think differently.”

“When you speak with people in communities about what the future could look like, the results are very different from what you hear when you do futuring exercises with service providers or within delivery systems,” said FORESIGHT co-chair Peter Long, Senior Vice President of Healthcare and Community Health Transformation at Blue Shield of California. “At the most basic level, people want conditions and resources that will give them the opportunity for a healthier, better quality of life. Instead of continuing to try to fix imperfect systems, we need genuinely transformative approaches that will make health and well-being for all more than a pipe dream.”

“Everyone has aspirations about the future—for themselves, for their children, and for the generations to come,” said FORESIGHT co-chair Amelia Hardy, Vice President of Strategic Community Engagement at Best Buy. “We started a conversation that is centered on the voices of people experiencing the greatest inequity. This is the only way to ensure that the future we are all actively shaping is equitable and works for everyone.”

Key Takeaways:

The FORESIGHT team, in partnership with Public Agenda, considered participants’ collective input and organized it into five interconnected themes that together comprise a vision for the future of health and well-being.

 

  • Equitable access to basic needs and supports
    • When community conversation and online survey participants were asked to envision a future for health, they often described a future in which everyone’s basic needs for food, housing, health care, and lifelong education are met.
    • Participants envisioned a future in which basic needs are met through a combination of small-scale community and large-scale governmental programs working together to provide these supports.
  • Economic well-being
    • Growing inequality between the “haves” and “have nots” was among the top 3 worries individuals cited upon watching the videos.
    • 53% of respondents cited concern over growing inequity as a top concern.
    • 30% of respondents were troubled by the prospect of automation eliminating traditional job opportunities.
    • Almost 50% of self-identified liberal respondents had hope in the idea of Universal Basic Incomeas a means of addressing economic stratification. Over 50% of self-identified conservative respondents expressed concern over Universal Basic Income.
  • Inclusive, just communities
    • Participants who experience inequities in their everyday lives hold ambitious hopes for the future. Respondents were enthusiastic about technological innovation reducing burdens and allowing for more fulfillment, but they also expressed concern that most advancements would pass them by and only be accessible to the very wealthy.
    • They also predict and worry that the most tumultuous and troubling impending challenges, such as climate change, will impact them first and hit them the hardest.
  • Holistic, innovative, culturally rooted health care
    • Many participants across the political spectrum were hopeful about the prospect of decouplinghealth insurance from employment.
    • Participants’ reactions reveal that people think of their health as systemic and interdependent.They understand the deep connections between economic security, food access and sustainability, racism, the environment, and their health. Their hope is that holistic solutions will address these many interconnected issues in the future.
  • Regenerative practices for people and the planet
    • Participants expressed concern about equitable access to resources, such as food and water, due to changes in climate.
    • Participants were excited by the prospect of living in eco-hubs—small, communal living arrangements in which community members look after one another.
    • But they raised concerns about sustainability, equity, and racial justice in those types ofcommunities. Some worried that moving into self-selected groups would deepen existing racial and socioeconomic divides and polarization.

Methodology: FORESIGHT invited input from a diversity of people across the country using a national poll and three independent methodologies that focused on hearing from community members in their own voices and centering the experience of those facing the greatest inequities in our current system.

 

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