We are thrilled to bring you the first installment  
of the CEO's Grantee Circular!
 
This quarterly online publication was designed especially with our
grantees in mind as a means to provide you with updates, news, noteworthy
CEO experiences, and most importantly to serve as a connector between all of
you and Dr. Robert Hughes, Foundation president and CEO. We hope this new
tool will be useful, informative, and engaging.

We'd like to hear from you. Tell us what you think! 

  
Message from Bob

It is a privilege to work with all of you to improve the health of families and communities across our region. 

Your work - caring for patients, making schools healthier places for our children, providing access to more nutritious food, helping people obtain health insurance coverage, building healthier neighborhoods, and delivering so many other essential services across Missouri - is vital for the people we serve.

Our job is to be a catalyst for your work; our aim is to help you be as impactful as possible. For us to do our job well we need you to help us work effectively. At MFH we are a learning organization, so your feedback is essential. We need and value your comments and suggestions on how we can improve the work that we do. We gather information through periodic surveys from grantees and applicants, and we appreciate that feedback because it gives us systematic data for improvement. But we also seek immediate, direct feedback from you when it may be most relevant in stimulating change - for you, for MFH, and for how we work together.
 
That is why I am asking you to send comments, questions, or suggestions directly to me at president@mffh.org . Positive comments are of course welcome (it is good to know when things are going well), but constructive ideas for improvement or questions are more valuable. I encourage you to be candid. Frank feedback is extremely important to us. We need it to fulfill our responsibilities to do the best job we can in using our resources to improve the health of the underserved and uninsured.
 
I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for all the work you do to make Missouri communities healthier and assist people most in need.

   




Bob Hughes
President and CEO




          




  
            


                

Grantees in the News


 

In April, I traveled to Cuba with representatives from eight other
organizations on a trip that was organized by the Medical Education
Cooperation with Cuba and sponsored by Grantmakers in Health.
 
 
Cuba is an interesting country to study, because while it is disadvantaged in many ways compared to the United States, its health care system sometimes leads to equal or better outcomes than what we see here. Though social and political differences make certain direct comparisons difficult, I believe there are useful lessons we can learn from this sort of cultural exchange.
 
While there, we focused on Havana and a nearby rural region, and were given the opportunity to take tours and explore a variety of different places, including clinics, schools, and hospitals. Highlights include a pediatric cardiac care center, a school for children with autism, the Center of Molecular Immunology, the National School of Public Health, family doctor/nurse offices, a senior citizen center, and the Pedro Borras Pediatric hospital, to name just a few. 

   

Cuba's government considers health care a fundamental human right guaranteed by the state, and provides it for all of its citizens at no cost. Health metrics in the country on some indicators, such infant mortality, are better than those of low-and-medium-income countries and, in a few cases, some richer countries as well. It has no private hospitals or clinics, and its preventive, proactive approach to health is one of the reasons it performs remarkably well given its economic state. According to World Bank reports, the country spends $431 per-head per-year compared to the $8,553 the United States spends, yet life expectancy in Cuba is approximately the same as in the U.S.
 
Primary care is central to Cuba's system. The country has an average of one physician per 1,000 people, and many of those doctors are based in neighborhood health centers. Along with nurses and support from visiting specialists, they closely monitor the health of every Cuban, conducting annual health assessments, sometimes in their patients' homes.
 
Because Cuba is so poor, its preventive model is well-suited for the wellbeing of its people. Perhaps the most noteworthy difference between Cuba and the United States is their commitment to care for everyone. The wide disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes we see here, based primarily on income and race, are largely absent in Cuba.
 
An emphasis on public health, preventive care, community connections, and health education are all concepts we can strive to promote in our own country. 

Overall, I learned a great deal and had an amazing time! I definitely left Cuba intrigued and couldn't help but wonder what the state of health care in America would be like if we integrated some of their best practices into our own. 

On the Horizon