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Program Officer Charles Dwyer presented the early findings from the Healthy Community Grants Program evaluation conducted by SE Foster Associates at the 40th National Rural Health Association Annual meeting in San Diego, California in May 10-12, 2017.
Essential to MeHAF’s Healthy Community philosophy is to encourage communities to determine what they want to achieve, what they already have in place, what system barriers exist that they can collectively address without creating new programs or services, and what they need to create. The goal is to seed multiple aligned strategies and encourage diverse community stakeholders to tap into their area of passion.
MeHAF gave Healthy Community grantees the freedom to design a process that best suited their community context, assets, and needs. This case study tells the story of how one county employed a community conversation approach to gather information from a broad array of stakeholders to reach consensus on its priority health issue: social isolation and disconnection.
MeHAF regularly includes evaluation as a component of its grantmaking. In addition, as a foundation that seeks to learn from and improve our own work, we periodically evaluate our grant processes and our relationships with grantees and applicants. This helps us to understand how well we communicate our programmatic goals and interact with those who seek grant funding, as well as how effectively we support grantees. The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), a national organization that assesses the performance of philanthropic funders across the country, fielded a survey in late 2015 to MeHAF’s grantees and applicants to get their candid input on our work.
MeHAF rated particularly well in relationships with and support of grantees, but has room for improvement in our selection/reporting/evaluation processes, which grantees and applicants found to be relatively cumbersome and time-consuming. To see more details about the survey results, see the PowerPoint presentation prepared by CEP. Questions about the survey and the results can be directed to Vice President for Programs Barbara Leonard at ext. 102.
For older adults, social isolation and loneliness can be a predictor of poor health, especially depression, other mood disorders, anxiety, and alcohol and drug abuse. This case study examines the efforts of four Thriving in Place (TiP) communities during their first year of implementation (November 1, 2014-October 31, 2015) to examine and reduce social isolation among older Mainers. The study is based on interviews with key partners, volunteers, and participants, site visits, and observation of collaborative phone calls among the four grantees.
MeHAF’s TiP initiative supports community-based, cross-sector collaboration among health care, social services, community supports, and volunteer networks to improve and enhance services for adults with chronic health conditions and/or disabilities to keep them in their homes and communities.
The University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service served as external evaluators for MeHAF’s Payment Reform program, which was active from 2011–2014. They developed three policy issue briefs that explore key issues related to the work of payment reform and health care delivery redesign: organizational change, access to and use of health data, and patient engagement.
Critical Insights poll of Mainers awareness of and attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act and enroll207.
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