Mon 8 May 2006
A healthy community is one in which its members have acknowledged the importance of social, economic, and political justice and personal wellbeing. The Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation has numerous benefits for the Carlisle community, the foremost of these being that it has taken responsibility for affecting positive change in the community. By encouraging effective participation from community members, the Foundation is at the forefront of a building a community-wide commitment to the healthy development of community members. With a mission stating that the Foundation “identifies and addresses health care needs and policies, promotes responsible health practices, and enhances access to and delivery of health services,” employees, volunteers, and Board members of the Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation provide immense benefit to our local community. One of the primary ways in which the Foundation benefits the community is through its grantmaking program. It distributes grants based on an applicant’s ability to manage a proposed program designed to elevate the status of the community’s health. Furthermore, the Foundation’s public policy program ensures the Foundation is involved in promoting health policies through its advocacy efforts and policy position papers. Developing connections with local, state, and national policymakers, the Foundation is in a stronger position to ensure that enacted policies will positively benefit our local community.
The benefit that I provided to the people of our region who realize the impact of the Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation was in the policy department. Using current research, national models, and the Foundation’s own studies, I developed a policy position paper on rising prescription medication costs in the Foundation’s service area. Policy position papers make known the stance of the Foundation regarding a particular issue. The position paper on prescription medication costs may influence local public policies. These consist of political decisions for implementing programs to achieve goals that were mentioned in the policy position paper. These goals included providing funding for mobile pharmacies and expanded rural health care coverage and increasing public knowledge through health literacy campaigns so patients are informed consumers of health care services and medications. Additionally, the policy position paper supported requiring drug manufacturers to report costs of advertising and marketing of prescription drugs in the state in an annual report. After I completed the policy position paper, negotiations by the Board occurred over wording to ensure accuracy, balance, clarity of message, and relevance to understanding and policy. Ideally, the benefit I provided to the organization and community was that public policies will be formulated to aid consumers in purchasing required medications.
This experience connected to the classroom teachings in various ways. I learned that the Foundation employs a basic business model for evaluating organizational performance and for evaluating the effectiveness and management of potential grantees. This was made easier by adequate information systems and staffing which was facilitated by strong economic resources. Because the Foundation does not suffer financial strains as do other small nonprofit organizations, its organization was superior to that of other nonprofits we examined in class.