NEW YORK, May 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The only foundation in the country established exclusively to support community health centers announced its final gifts as it prepares to sunset, 15 years after it began. The RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF) was established following the sale of CenterCare Health Plan and reorganization of a New York City-based community health center network, providing the opportunity for substantial investment in community health centers and related initiatives nationally.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors determined that a planned sunset would provide the best opportunity to fulfill its promise of supporting and nurturing the health center program. “I am so proud of the exceptional accomplishments of the RCHN Community Health Foundation and the investment we have made in the community health center movement,” said RCHN CHF Board Chair M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP. “These final grants reflect our deep commitment to having a meaningful and sustained impact on community health.”
Complemented by several smaller grant awards, major gifts will be made to three organizations whose work is closely aligned with the Foundation’s mission.
Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy at GWU – $7 million
The RCHN CHF awarded $7 million to the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), the nation’s leading academic program on community health centers and the communities and populations they serve. Established in 2004 and named after Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in health and human rights and founders of the community health center movement in the U.S., the Geiger Gibson Program is recognized for its timely reports on health equity and community health that inform health policy decision-making. RCHN CHF has underwritten a large part of the Geiger Gibson Program’s work since 2007 when it helped to create the signature Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative, which has produced scores of policy analyses, data briefs, and infographics on policy topics addressing health centers and health care needs in underserved communities.
“We are incredibly grateful to the RCHN Community Health Foundation for this gift that will give us the opportunity to not only maintain, but strengthen, what has become a premier resource for community health center policy, scholarship, and training,” Thomas J. LeBlanc, the President of the George Washington University, said. The RCHN CHF gift will build on and expand the existing scope of work, providing support for the Geiger Gibson Program’s Health Policy Fellows program for health center staff, awards and recognition programs for Emerging Leaders and Distinguished Visitors, and cutting-edge scholarship on health equity and law. The gift will also support expansion of the community health and equity focus within the Department’s Master of Health Administration programs and collaboration with The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.
National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc. (NACHC) – $5 million
An award of $5 million will be made to the National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc. (NACHC), the leading advocacy organization for community health centers and health care access for marginalized and medically underserved people. NACHC will use the RCHN CHF funds to establish a Center for Community Health Innovation (CCHI) to identify, support, and replicate ground-breaking approaches to practice innovation, workforce development and collaborative arrangements in the delivery of community-based health care. The goal of the CCHI is to prepare community health centers for sustainable operational and clinical success, building on their unique, 50-plus year history and commitment to equity and access.
“The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan stimulus package details the need for care in marginalized, medically underserved communities, and the essential role of community health centers in providing that care,” NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden commented. “At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare alarming health inequities, the RCHN Community Health Foundation’s gift will help us to address those needs and develop innovative models for the future.”
Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) – $ 1 million
A champion of community-centered primary care in New York State for 50 years, the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) provides training and technical assistance to support excellence in primary care delivery at more than 70 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) operating 800 health center locations statewide. RCHN CHF’s gift of $1 million will support the creation of a Community Health Center Workforce Institute to meet the current and emerging needs of New York’s community health centers. The workforce institute will deliver services, tools, technical assistance, and programs to address high-priority workforce issues.
“Recruiting and retaining high quality primary care providers has always been difficult, and the pandemic has made it even harder,” explained CHCANYS President and CEO Rose Duhan. “The CHCANYS Workforce Institute is intended to help the state’s community health centers attract and retain the clinical and non-clinical personnel who are the backbone of their services and operations. Our work will build on RCHN CHF’s commitment to developing models and tools that advance health centers in New York State and around the country.”
The RCHN CHF expects to end its operations in 2021. “The Foundation has had a robust voice through our policy research, grant-making and investment in on-the-ground initiatives aimed at improving health and health care,” Feygele Jacobs, RCHN CHF’s President and CEO, said. “We’ve had the remarkable privilege to do this work, and these major gifts build on and accelerate our investment at a crucial time for community health and will underscore our legacy.”
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SOURCE RCHN Community Health Foundation