Celebrating five years of improving health, not just health care in Texas

Elena Marks
By Elena Marks
President & CEO

As health care continues to be the top concern for a majority of Americans, we’re all incredibly proud of the work we’ve done here at the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) to change the conversation to improving health, not just health care, and the impact we’ve had in the communities we serve. In just five years of full operation, EHF has become a leading advocate for improving health by reshaping the health care conversation to focus on addressing the non-medical, root causes of poor health.

To mark this important milestone for EHF, throughout the next few months we’ll share stories of our work that feature the innovations, impact, and influence of the organizations improving community health across the state. Join our celebration of what we’ve achieved, and look toward what’s yet to come by following #EHFiveYears and @Health4Texas on Twitter and Facebook.

At its inception, EHF leveraged a unique moment to change health in Texas for the better. The current approach to health care is unsustainable—the United States spends more on health care than any other developed country, yet we achieve worse health outcomes. Under the leadership of Bishop Andy Doyle and our board of directors, EHF made a bold decision to pursue community-based health to spark transformative change within the Episcopal Diocese of Texas’ 57-county service area and change how Texans approach health.

We’ve made substantial progress towards that goal—since 2015, we’ve provided more than $140 million in grants to organizations working to improve the health of 11 million Texans.

Through our grant work, EHF aims to impact communities in three key ways:

  • Support for comprehensive community-based clinics, including addressing the root causes of poor health
  • Strengthening organizations and congregations to build health-promoting programs
  • Support providers and community-based organizations to strengthen early childhood development

We’ve also helped the health system look for new and innovative ways of paying for improved health outcomes, not just more medical services. It’s an important effort to support change in healthcare financing to encourage investment in improving community health.

 

Our research team and partners have produced more than 100 reports and interactive data maps on important topics like life expectancy, optimizing rural health, and early childhood brain development. EHF’s Texas Health Policy Polls and reports on the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Texas have become key resources for organizations across the state and they have been routinely featured by news media in Texas and across the country.

Our community engagement work continues to help communities take charge of their own health by bringing leaders, neighborhoods, and sections of the health system together to look for real solutions to health issues facing our communities.

Our congregational engagement team is working with church leaders and congregations to help them focus their efforts to impact their communities’ health in meaningful ways.

And we are excited about where we are going next! We plan to build on the success we’ve had while also exploring new innovative tools such as impact investing and research-based strategic initiatives to transform how Texans approach health.

Thank you for joining us in believing there is a path to better health in Texas. Make sure you read our latest statewide survey that shows that Texans think good medical care alone is not enough to live a healthy life. The survey results confirm our believe that to truly improve the health of Texans, we have to improve health, not just health care.

Together with our partners, we look forward to the next five years and to spurring effective, meaningful, and sustainable change.

 

Sincerely,