Posted March 19, 2018 in News Items
As I have held one-on-one meetings with many of you this winter and shared our new vision and mission, I have found that many know the term ‘social determinants of health’, but a deeper understanding of what this means needs to be cultivated in order to understand our new mission and vision. In this context ‘health’ is much more than the absence of disease and starts long before illness, in our homes, schools and jobs. I have borrowed some language from The World Health Organization (WHO) which defines the social determinants of health as being the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.
Our new mission is to achieve health equity by addressing the social determinants of health. We know however, that we can’t do it all. We have set forth specific goals, objectives and strategies to guide our work and we are currently establishing our priorities for the first year of the plan. Our objectives contain strategies related to education, income, housing, social connections, healthy eating and active living and the economic, social and physical conditions in the neighborhoods that surround Saint Luke’s. Additionally, our strategy will encompass public policy. In some instances, changes in policy will have direct impact on health equity and the lives of individuals often left behind.
There is no doubt that our new focus could be unsettling for those of you who are current grantees. Many of our partners are already doing work that affects social determinants of health. This strategy takes into account a broader context than we have been using.
We are committed to maintaining a level of strategic investing and NOT spreading the peanut butter too thin, as that lessens our impact. But, there will be funding shifts as a result of our plan and priorities. Please know that changes are not a reflection of our belief in you or admiration of your work. It is a reflection of our desire to have the biggest impact we can on what is of paramount importance to us as an organization.
When our full board approves the completed plan this spring, we will share it in detail with you via a new web site and in one-on-one and group meetings. You can call or email me anytime in between and I will be happy to share more on what we are doing and learning. Please know how sincerely we value your partnership.