The coming of a new year marks a time of fresh beginnings and resolutions. December, then, becomes an important time to reflect on the accomplishments of the year and brings into focus the goals we still need to work toward. Each year, organizations in our region plan and implement outstanding programs and policies that continue to create a culture of health. This year was no different, but one theme clearly emerged as we review 2016: our local municipalities and agencies found creative solutions to move public health forward, through efforts like the adoption of Tobacco 21 policies and the creation of a prescription drug monitoring program in three Missouri cities/counties. This year we funded more than 130 organizations with a total of $20.2 million. These grants supported tobacco prevention, mental and behavioral health services, free oral health care to students in at-risk areas, and access to healthy food, among many more programs. A snapshot of our 2016 grantmaking can be found at 2016.healthforward.org. Some highlights of our funding and advocacy include:
- Thanks to the tremendous success of Tobacco 21 policies, 85 percent of youth in the Health Forward service area now live in cities that increased the age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21.
- 104 health care stakeholders participated in conversations to imagine the future of the Missouri Medicaid program.
- UMKC was awarded a $150,000 initiative to accelerate innovation in diabetes prevention and care through the development of the Kansas City Diabetes Collaborative.
- Crittenton is developing an elementary school model of the Trauma Smart project addressing social-emotional needs of children ages 5 to 12.
- Harvesters requested $150,000 to increase cooler space. This expansion will increase the offering of fresh produce and more nutritious food to the nearly 400,000 people served.