Well, here it is, dear readers. The end of another year. And what an interesting year 2017 has been! As Americans, we persevered through a tumultuous year. As Missourians and Kansans, we saw some successes in health. And closer to our home, Health Forward experienced quite a bit of change.
Before we get too far into our review of the year, we’d like to remind you that Health Forward will be closed Dec. 22 – Jan. 1, so our employees can spend the holidays with their families.
And with that, let’s look back at 2017.
We watched politicians come close to repealing the Affordable Care Act. We advocated that any repeal should include a replacement that covers even more Americans who currently fall into a health care coverage gap. The Affordable Care Act remains, but we will continue to diligently follow what our elected officials are doing in the realm of health insurance and advocate for those whose voices are not being heard.
While Kansas did not expand Medicaid, we were pleased by the efforts of our partner, the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, and the hardworking people who advocated for more Kansans to be covered by Medicaid. We’ll continue to work toward the goal of increasing access in both Kansas and Missouri.
See our 2017 grantees
We were also gratified to hear and take part in the necessary conversations about opioids in our communities. There are still far too many people affected by opioids. The enactment of a regional prescription drug monitoring system in Missouri proves that people are listening and taking notice. We will continue to work toward expansion of the PDMP in our service area in 2018.
Our community partners and grantees have done a wonderful job to increase focus on trauma and services that seek to understand the damage trauma inflicts on our neighbors and communities. We are so proud to work together with these organizations that are implementing a gentle and caring approach.
Changes at Health Forward
In news closer to home, we finalized our move from 18th and Prospect to Main Street. We miss the energy and enthusiasm that comes from sharing office space with a school, but we also welcomed the new energy of being near downtown. We are definitely enjoying the walkability and access to food venues, Union Station, and streetcar.
In addition to a new temporary location, we welcomed three new associates to the organization and increased capacity to perform our best work. Meet the new associates in their blog posts:
This year we also embarked on a series of community forums where we heard about the needs in our communities. We will have a report available in 2018 that recaps the recommendations and feedback we heard through the community forums.
Theory of change dominated our program work this year. Our new evaluation frameworks seeks to better communicate the changes we want to see and the strategies used to get there. We have been working with the many grantees who are already incorporating this framework. We are grateful for their patience, creativity, and dedication that we see in their projects. You can see all our 2017 grantees in this beautiful holiday greeting.
Our year on the blog
On the blog, we published 70 posts that touched on health policy, healthy communities, safety net, mental health, and everything in between. We love featuring the work of our grantees and community partners: over half of our posts this year came from guest bloggers! Thirty of those 70 posts were from Health Forward, the remaining 40 were from grantees, partners, and elected officials.
Thank you for allowing us to share your story.
Top 10 blog posts of 2017
All of us at the Health Forward Foundation would like to wish you a merry and bright holiday season.
As we approach the new year, we thank you for all you do to ignite a culture of health.