by Scout Reporting from some undisclosed location
To Change Health Disparities, We Must Change the Health Funding Streams
A while back I wrote about some thoughts presented at the Tobacco Disparities Research Network meeting panel on how to collaborate and build sustainability. They asked at the end of the panel what the one thing I would do to help disparity populations would be. My answer? Have everyone in the room write a letter we copy to the head of federal health, each state department of health, and every member of the group Grantmakers in Health asking for one thing: for all of their funding streams to require integrated plans to address health disparities. I certainly support targeted health disparity funding as well, but it seems to me if we want to really reduce health disparities, we must change the bulk of health funding dollars, which often go out to general population applications. I love how one HHS agency, Administration on Children and Family Services has taken some real steps recently not just to fund LGBT focused groups, but even more importantly, to base a piece of the scoring of general funding applicants on their ability to provide concrete plans for some portion of their work to integrate disparity population concerns (including LGBTs!). Wouldn’t it be great if all HHS and state and private foundation funding streams followed that model?
New Resource to Help Health Groups Understand How to Include Us in RFAs
The Allied Consortium of all the National Networks for Tobacco Control and Prevention has been in meetings with Dr. Ursula Bauer (head of Chronic at CDC) advocating for disparity inclusion in the broad range of new work coming out of her shop. One piece her office is working on is the forthcoming Community Transformation Grants mandated by healthcare reform. In our most recent meeting with her she asked for specific strategies for how to ensure health funding announcements (often called RFAs in lingoland) really do integrate substantive work to eliminate health disparities. So, always happy to help provide details, the Allied Consortium created a new policy statement giving guidelines for how to substantively include populations affected by disparities in funding announcements. And to make it even sweeter, with the help of dear Joseph Lee (w00t!) working over the weekend, we provided a model of how a past HHS set of health Request for Awards (that’s the RFA acronym) could be modified to more successfully integrate health disparity work.
So, catch our new policy statement on our resource library here. And spread it around far and wide, why not make an appointment with your local state department of health and bring this in to suggest how they can make sure all their awards really do a better job at eliminating health disparities too!
What does the policy statement say in a nutshell?
- Ensure all mainstream health funding awards require disparity plans as part of the scoring. (and here’s how to do that)
- Ensure technical assistance on disparity work is made available to mainstream groups to help them achieve their goals. (and here’s how some have done that)
- Have some smaller portion of each funding stream supports directly support community based organizations serving populations affected by disparities as well. (and here’s how)
- If you need specific examples of how to integrate these ideas into RFA language, see all the attachments with line by line suggestions.