Contact: Brian Byrnes, President & CEO, Santa Fe Community Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-988-9715 x7001.
Racial and economic health disparities to be addressed through $3.11 million W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant
Santa Fe, NM (August 7, 2012) – W. K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a three-year, $3.11 million grant to fund a community-based health planning and policy development partnership across New Mexico. Housed at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, the project will give local leaders in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, McKinley, and San Juan Counties the data, tools and skills to address social, economic and environmental conditions in their communities that shape health outcomes.
The grant will be used to combine the strengths of three statewide activities: the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils, the Place Matters initiative, and training local leaders to do Health Impact Assessments. Health impact assessments examine the effects of public policy on health. Place Matters teams, made up of local leaders, use those findings to advocate for policy change and inform public opinion.
Santa Fe Community Foundation will function as a backbone institution coordinating these three efforts out of their headquarters in downtown Santa Fe.
The Health Equity Partnership will ultimately result in the creation of the New Mexico Health Equity Institute. This effort will have a particular focus on racial, environmental and economic-based health inequities related to higher infant mortality, higher rates of disease and disability, and shortened life expectancy.
Nationally, inequities like these have added more than $50 billion a year in direct U.S. health care costs over a four-year period, according to a study released by the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The study also estimated that the indirect costs of racial inequalities associated with illness and premature death amounted to more than a trillion dollars over 2006-2009.
New Mexico is one of a small minority of states with a centralized, statewide health department, rather than county or municipal-based health departments, making the need for community-based health planning, assessment and action at the local level even more critical. This is especially true in those communities with significant health disparities due to inequitable resource allocation and policies.
“Poverty creates social, economic and environmental conditions that disproportionately affect the health of Hispanic, Native American and immigrant people in our communities. This is a matter of justice. These unnecessary health problems have a tragic impact on quality of life and negatively affect the stability of families and communities across the state,” said Brian T. Byrnes, Santa Fe Community Foundation President and CEO. “This inequity has a ripple effect beyond the individual. It hampers our workforce readiness and competitiveness as a state, and frustrates our ability to contain health care costs and improve overall health care quality. This grant will enable the partners in this collaborative effort to help community leaders drive solutions to this immense problem.”
Santa Fe Community Foundation is 31 years old with total assets of approximately $53 million. In 2011, the Foundation and its donors made almost $3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and in 2012 has received gifts of $13 million. The Foundation is made up of 320 separate philanthropic funds established by donors and nonprofit organizations either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Santa Fe Community Foundation and its Hub for Social Innovation serves as a major provider of information, convener, nonprofit capacity builder, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges.