Healthcare Georgia Foundation works to level the playing field

‘(I)nvestments in health give us the workforce we need to continue to move Georgia forward’

The Healthcare Georgia Foundation is dedicated to serving vulnerable populations and underserved communities throughout the state. It’s a health foundation that partners with nonprofits to give the needy access to quality health care. In the battle against local health inequity, it’s important work.

“Georgians have been faced with so many challenges this year — from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the monkeypox outbreak, a mental health crisis in our youth, hospital closures, critical gaps in health care coverage, and more,” a representative of the foundation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Equitable access to health services is a crucial element to our communities surviving and thriving. Atlanta and Georgia are leaders in medical technology and research advancements, yet thousands of Georgians can’t get a strep test when they have a sore throat.”

To remedy the situation, the Healthcare Georgia Foundation is consolidating the state’s health care firepower, one nonprofit at a time.

“We’re working to shift systems so our rural and urban communities reap the benefits of a healthy population,” the representative said. “People and sectors across the state see the benefit of making these changes, and we’re dedicated and passionate about utilizing our resources to bring those people together to find sustainable solutions to these issues facing Georgians.”

Health inequity is experienced on a world scale. All the same, Georgia has its own difficult past with struggling health care. It’s an age-old problem that affects more than many might think.

“The playing field has never truly been level for Georgians, and inequities in health reach back decades into the state’s past,” the representative said. “It’s important to understand that health inequity isn’t just about physical health — we also have to look at the conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play. Safe playgrounds, healthy food, and places to congregate all have an impact on the health of individuals and entire communities.

“Across the state of Georgia, not everyone has the same access to these basic commodities and generation after generation of communities are not being given a fair shake. It’s up to us to work in tandem across sectors, from philanthropic entities to corporations, to invest in creating opportunity in each of our communities so people can thrive. Similar to the benefit we all reap when we invest in roads and bridges, investments in health give us the workforce we need to continue to move Georgia forward.”

The foundation offers grant funding and program support to local health nonprofits, including Emory University and the Center for Black Women’s Wellness.

“Healthcare Georgia Foundation is committed not only to increasing access to health services and reducing health disparities, but also to creating partnership and dialogue,” the representative said. “The issues we care about — maternal health, infant health, mental health, health insurance — are shared by many others, and we believe that by bringing people together around a desire for change we can make a real difference.”

Moving forward, the foundation is under new leadership and has its sights set on milestones just over the horizon.

“We’re in an exciting new season here at the foundation,” the representative said. “Earlier this year, we welcomed our new president and CEO, Kristy Klein Davis, who joined us from the Missouri Foundation for Health. We’ve also begun new partnerships for our Maternal and Child Health Initiative, which is focused on addressing maternal and infant health among Black women and infants in Georgia. We’ve also started some work in mental health, looking specifically at addressing stigma in youth communities.

“Finally, our Two Georgias Initiative — which worked in 11 rural counties to build cross sector partnerships focused on health — is coming to an end, but we are incredibly proud of the work that took place in those communities and the continued benefit of the strong partnerships created through that work.”

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