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Creating Neutral Space for Challenging Conversations

Creating Neutral Space for Challenging Conversations

During the four years that MeHAF funded grants to support innovative payment reform strategies, we regularly gathered the grantees to share with one another their experiences, successes and challenges.  When health care leader Jay Want, MD, spoke to MeHAF’s Payment Reform grantees in August 2013 about the elements needed to transform health Care, he noted the importance of empathy, integrity and humility, and the ability “to translate one side for the other” as key factors to breaking down historical siloes and working effectively together.

As a foundation, MeHAF serves not only as a source of funds but also as a neutral convener for the many parties that are involved in making big system changes.  In that role, we look for ways to bring diverse stakeholders together, to create a forum for conversation and elicit their best thinking. We can help to neutralize politically charged issues, bring reliable information to the table, set a tone of and foster collaboration, and foster “creative abrasion” where people and groups with diverse perspectives refine one another’s ideas.

In the fall of 2014 we interviewed all of the payment reform grantees about their projects.  Many of them highlighted the importance of MeHAF’s role as a neutral convener. As a neutral convener we had the opportunity to give our grantees a rare gift: a protected space and time for them to take a collective deep breath, learn together, and look at things differently.

To see more about what grantees said, including some video clips of our interviews, go to the full blog post in the Tools and Materials section of the MeHAF website.

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