Risa Lavizzo-Mourey: Seek Partners

Mar 28, 2016 | Health Resources, Stakeholder Health Reflection | 0 comments

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A new message from RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey starts with an image from the AIDS quilt.

Near the front door of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation hangs a quilt that tells the stories of several lives—stories of love, spirit, and joy—tragically cut short because of HIV/AIDS.

Every six months for the past 14 years, we have had the privilege of displaying a different section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at our headquarters, and the profound honor of getting to know these individuals through the moving patchworks created by their loved ones.

Every time a new section arrives, I stop and take it in. I think about the kaleidoscope of people who came together to create the commemoration. And the meaningful mosaic of fabric—a pair of favorite blue jeans, a military uniform, a choir robe, a fluffy childhood blanket—they selected in tribute. Pieced together—ultimately covering the entire National Mall in Washington—the Quilt is a testament to the power of joining forces.

Building a Culture of Health in America, I’ve realized, is much like assembling a quilt. It requires many hands working together. And often, the most unlikely pairings create the most evocative designs.

In her 2016 message, reminding us that only 20 percent of healthcare outcomes result from work in the healthcare sector, Lavizzo-Mourey says the healthy culture movement must also be championed “those who have not historically seen themselves as part of the health arena—sectors such as criminal justice, real estate development, finance and technology; as well as organizations focused on civic engagement, equity and economic prosperity.”

So we are all challenged to forge new, even “unconventional” partnerships, Says Lavizzo-Mourey.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.50.13 PMShe lists the four themes that RWJF is focused on: healthy children, healthy weight; healthy communities, leadership for better health. Especially relevant to the Stakeholder community is the focus on transforming health and healthcare systems:

RWJF remains deeply committed to improving America’s health care system, and increasing the coordination between care, cost, prevention and decision-making.

The programs we fund aim to cultivate effective partnerships between hospitals and communities; examine how the delivery of care can be improved to meet the needs of local residents; and provide greater access to health care and coverage for everyone.

This area of our work also underscores our continued support of the expansion of Medicaid at the state level, as well as programs that help Americans obtain health insurance.

One initiative that reflects the transformation we seek is the BUILD Health Challenge. It is a national award program supporting “bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven” (BUILD) community health interventions in low-income, urban neighborhoods. The Challenge aims to strengthen partnerships among local nonprofit organizations, hospitals and health systems, and local health departments to improve the health and well-being of communities

Read the entire message here.

RWJF Blog: Culture of Health.

Related posts: AIDS Quilt, Pick Your Issue, Strategic Partners for Social Change.

Photo: National Institute of Health

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