At the beginning of March, a few colleagues and I traveled to sunny Austin, Texas, to attend the Grantmakers in Health conference.
I always enjoy the opportunity GIH provides by uniting us in one location, to visit with thinkers from around the nation who are working on similar health issues. It is reaffirming to know that we are not alone in our work to improve access to health; people and organizations all over the country are coming up with creative ways to approach the challenges we face.
However much I enjoyed meeting new people and discussing challenges and solutions, the best part of the conference was the number of times people mentioned work going on right here in the Kansas City area.
Multiple presenters used your work in Kansas City as examples of great ideas and innovations. These programs were called out by name — Head Start Trauma Smart, Truman Mobile Market, Healthy Kids/Healthy Communities in Rosedale neighborhood of KCK, the Food Policy Coalition, and the Health Home Project through the state of Missouri, which works on mental and physical health coordination of care.
How invigorating to hear Kansas City programs recognized as outstanding solutions!
This recognition reminded me also of a project we are taking on at Health Forward, which will debut in early summer. To celebrate Health Forward’s 10 years of grantmaking, we working on an intensive research project that will look at the progress in health and health care that our grantees and community partners have made in the last decade. Some of the changes are subtle, but when viewed over 10 years, the cumulative progress is astounding.
As the saying goes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. When we are so immersed in identifying and solving challenges, it feels like we often don’t take the opportunity to truly see what great work is actually going on around us.
Reminders like this research project and recognition at the GIH conference offer us at least a glimpse of the forest that we have helped grow.
Hats off to the hard work done right here at home.