Sep 8, 2014, 1:55 PM, Posted by
When we first began the Forward Promise initiative, we envisioned building the capacity and impact of organizations across the country working with boys and young men of color from every type of community and background. We wanted to identify and support a cohort of grantees that were diverse in their approach, in their geography, and in the racial, ethnic and cultural experiences of the young people that they supported. Once we began doing this work, it didn’t take long to realize we were falling short.
The simple truth is that the majority of organizations who applied for Forward Promise that had demonstrated success and were ready to expand were located in major cities. Few applicants were in the rural beltway that stretches across the Southern United States, from Alabama to Arizona. It would be easy to assume that there weren’t many young men of color there or that there was not much innovation or capacity to support young men of color in that region. But you know what they say about assumptions ...
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May 14, 2012, 10:57 AM, Posted by
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health has designated May 13 to May 19 as National Women’s Health Week. It is designed to bring together communities, businesses, government, health organizations and others to promote women’s health. The goal in 2012 is to empower women to make their health a top priority. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Blog is launching an occasional series on women’s health in conjunction with the week. This post is by Rebekah Gee, MD, MPH, RWJF Clinical Scholars alumna and an assistant professor of public health and obstetrics and gynecology at Louisiana State University (LSU). She is director of the Louisiana Birth Outcomes Initiative.
Louisiana is a fantastic place to live. It’s one of the most culturally rich and enchanting places in the United States. The state, however, also faces some of the greatest challenges in our nation.
Louisiana has a long history of poverty, poor education, and social problems that affect the health of too many of its citizens. And for women—particularly African American women—the challenges are even greater. We are 49th in the nation in terms of overall birth outcomes, like infant prematurity and mortality, and we get failing grades on report cards that measure those indicators of health.
In 2010, Bruce Greenstein, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), recognized the importance of poor birth outcomes as a crucial public health issue—and named it his top priority. We were the first state in the nation to offer birth outcomes this kind of backing from our government officials. In November, 2010, we launched the Birth Outcomes Initiative, which I direct. It engages partners across the state—physicians, hospitals, clinics, nurses—and provides them with the best evidence and guiding principles to achieve change. We have made significant progress already.
We are working with the state’s hospitals on maternity care quality improvements, including ending all medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. We have partnered with 15 of the largest maternity hospitals to provide them with the support and resources to make this a reality. Now, every maternity hospital in the state (there are 58) has signed on to the 39-Week Initiative.
Soon, we will be publishing perinatal quality scores—available to the public—so hospitals and physicians are held accountable for outcomes. In our pioneer facilities, we have seen the rates of elective deliveries drop by half. Many facilities have had as much as a 30-percent drop in the number of babies who needed to go to the NICU. The efforts of the Birth Outcomes Initiative are improving lives day after day.
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Dec 28, 2011, 1:00 PM, Posted by
As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by Denise Bottcher, Communications Director, AARP Louisiana, which is the non-nurse co-lead for Louisiana’s Action Coalition, a part of Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.
What is your New Year’s resolution for the United States health care system?
Right now Louisiana–like the rest of the nation—is facing a shortage of primary care physicians. And it’s not projected to get any better any time soon. It just makes sense that we remove the barriers advance practice nurses face so that we can expand access to high-quality care so that we can keep our population healthy.
As the nation grows older, the demands for health care increase. Managing chronic conditions and staying healthy are chief concerns for older adults and the people who care for them. So what’s the excuse for not allowing highly trained educated nurses play a larger role in meeting the needs of patients? It’s time we end the turf war and put people first.
What do you think should be the highest priority for action in the New Year?
Whichever side you’re on, I think Americans are ready for the United States Supreme Court to rule on the Affordable Care Act. Along with the economy, the new health care law continues to be one of the most hotly contested debates among radio talk show hosts, elected officials and voters. It’s not surprising that when you talk about the benefits of the new law–coverage for pre-existing conditions, preventative coverage, and eliminating red tape–everyone supports it. It’s only when you talk about the mandate to purchase insurance that the debate begins. I’m ready for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the debate once and for all. Let’s get on with it.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.