2008 President's Report to Leadership and Supporters
Group Health Foundation
Over the past year, the Foundation has taken significant steps to increase alignment with Group Health's strategic priorities. You may have already noticed one of our most visible changes we are now the Group Health Foundation. This change makes our purpose crystal clear: We are the fundraising body for Group Health.
I'm also proud to announce a significant new initiative that demonstrates a sharpened focus for our philanthropic investments. The Partnership for Innovation is a donor-funded initiative that supports affordable excellence at Group Health in exciting new ways. We recently announced the inaugural round of funding for the program and plan to invest $1.5 million over the next three years.
The Partnership for Innovation
The Partnership for Innovation brings together the unique strengths of Group Health: The vision and innovation of our clinicians, the cutting-edge research of the Group Health Research Institute and the generosity of our donors. Its purpose is to identify, cultivate and fund pilot programs that have high potential to produce innovations in patient care in the Group Health care delivery system.
We awarded nearly $357,000 to the first group of projects proposed by Group Health teams in Pediatrics, Occupational Health, Health Promotion, and Ophthalmology. Staff from the Center for Health Studies worked closely with these innovators to develop their proposals into pilot projects with robust evaluation programs. We'll keep you updated as these projects move ahead.
Childhood Immunization Focus of Grants Program
Our Children and Teens Grants Program has been redesigned with a new focus on increasing childhood immunization rates. In the fall, we'll be rolling out a three-year statewide program that will deliver vaccinations to underserved children and educate parents about the importance of vaccination in keeping kids healthy.
Immunizations play a critical role in preventing infectious disease in our children. This program is a great demonstration of Group Health's commitment to creating healthier lives for everyone in our communities.
Donations Support Flu Vaccine Research
A new donor-supported study by the Group Health Research Institute, published in The Lancet, adds fuel to the growing controversy over how well the flu vaccine protects the elderly. The study of more than 3,500 Group Health patients aged 65 to 94 found no link between flu vaccination and risk of pneumonia during three flu seasons.
"This study adds to our knowledge about flu vaccine and pneumonia, which is one of the most dangerous complications of influenza in older people," said John Dunn, MD, chair of Group Health's Immunization Committee. "What it doesn't tell us is how valuable the vaccine is in preventing or reducing the severity of influenza itself or other complications. Since we know that immune response is reduced in older patients, this study will encourage researchers to look for ways to make this and other vaccines more effective. Our best advice to seniors is to continue to get an annual flu shot."
The study was made possible by a donor-funded research fellowship at the Group Health Research Institute. Since 2003, Foundation donors have provided over $300,000 for research at Group Health.
Drug Take Back Program Nationally Recognized
In 2006, donors provided funding for a pilot program to promote the safe disposal of unused, unwanted medications. Today the program has expanded to include all 25 of our Washington medical centers. More than 8,400 pounds of medication have been returned for safe disposal.
In the past year the program has received a great deal of media attention and was recently recognized with a Community Leadership Award from America's Health Insurance Plans. This prestigious award recognizes "the exceptional work that organizations contribute to improving the health and environment of communities they serve."
Congratulations to Shirley Reitz, Walter Sidles, Robert Willott, and the entire team from Group Health Pharmacy that has made the program such a success.
2008 Gift of Health Gala
Join us for a special evening celebrating Group Health a lively cocktail hour, fabulous dinner, festive entertainment, and a tribute to our Innovators in Health Care Award recipient Cheryl Scott. Proceeds to benefit the Children and Teens Health Care Fund.