Since its founding in 1998, the de Beaumont Foundation has invested in programs that improve health through system change and evidence-based solutions. Following are a few of our past programs that reflect our strategic priorities.

Win-Win Collaboration Across Sectors

Grantee: University of California, Los Angeles

There are numerous evidence-based interventions that affect public health but lack the resources to be fully implemented and are seen as belonging in other sectors, such as education, city planning, or child protection services. These sectors do not always understand the full potential for mutual benefit. In addition, public health officials often lack knowledge or resources to constructively engage these potential partners in advocacy.

The Win-Win Project at the Center for Health Advancement at the Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, used econometric modeling to support multi-sectoral policy change to demonstrate health benefits and return on investment. The de Beaumont Foundation supported a survey of the top 100 local public health departments, a capacity-building workshop for selected cross-sectoral teams from large local health departments, and additional technical assistance for these teams. Through these actions, the Win-Win project documented the capacity and training needs of health departments and improved collaboration in public health.

Health Impact Assessments

Grantee: The Pew Charitable Trusts

Policy decisions made every day about transportation, housing, education, and infrastructure, among many others, impact Americans’ health in profound ways, yet the health implications are rarely taken into consideration. One way to integrate these sectors and promote policies that benefit public health is to conduct a health impact assessment (HIA). HIAs have become increasingly popular, but few cities have extensive experience conducting them or establishing them as a routine practice.

In collaboration with the de Beaumont Foundation and the Big Cities Health Coalition, the Pew Charitable Trusts implemented a program to initiate a broader use of HIAs in policy decisions and to increase cities’ capacity to conduct HIAs. Pew hosted three HIA demonstration projects in cities that had limited experience with HIAs but identified “health in all policies” as a priority: a living wage ordinance in Boston, a proposed green space in Chicago, and a shared-use agreement in Maricopa County, Ariz. Pew provided training and assistance in those cities to ensure high-quality assessments and organizational changes to create capacity to routinely conduct them in the future. On a broader level, Pew hosted the third National HIA Conference to offer networking and peer-to-peer training opportunities. In addition, a two-day training was provided to all Big Cities Health Coalition members to raise awareness about HIAs. Learn about Pew’s Health Impact Project.

Cost-Effectiveness in Public Health

Grantee: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

For decades, public health practitioners and policymakers have called for cost-effectiveness data to inform their budgeting decisions. These decisions have become increasingly difficult in recent years. To understand how public health spending relates to population health outcomes, the de Beaumont Foundation funded a team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to examine an untapped longitudinal dataset on governmental spending.

These data come from the U.S. Census of State and Local Governmental Finance datasets. Despite having been collected for over 50 years, the Census data on public health spending have not been utilized to examine how state and local spending affects the health of the American people. Making the Census data more usable will allow the public health systems research community to move beyond existing public health spending estimates, which are limited to spending by state and local health departments.

Census spending captures public health spending inside and outside of health departments across all sectors of government. This dataset improved understanding of total government public health spending, documented the effect of public health spending on health outcomes, and analyzed the cost-effectiveness of public health spending.

Obesity Data Challenge

The de Beaumont Foundation supported two Obesity Data Challenges that identified effective uses of data to tackle the epidemic of adult obesity. Two parallel, prize-based competitions were held in the United States and England. In the U.S. challenge, the de Beaumont Foundation collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Data Consortium. In England, the challenge was led by the National Health Service and its organizing partner, Rewired State.

Each country’s challenge participants could utilize and mash up open data to develop new data visualization tools to give communities, local health officials, patients, and practitioners new means to improve population health. HDC and the de Beaumont Foundation sought solutions that enabled health care professionals and local health officials to help patients and families address the obesity epidemic at both a personal and community level. Entrants were encouraged to utilize open government data sets from HealthData.gov or propose to make data they had already collected available to the public.

Winners of the Obesity Data Challenges were announced in September 2015. Entries were based on creativity and innovation, use of evidence-based approaches, and the potential impact on healthcare or population health. The winning entries were:

  • Healthdata+Obesity (1st place): This simple, curated dashboard helps health officials tell a powerful story about the root causes of obesity. The dashboard provides customizable data visualizations at the national, state, and local level as well as an interactive map, national benchmarks, and written content to contextualize the data.
  • The Neighborhood Map of U.S. Obesity (2nd place): This highly detailed, interactive map incorporates obesity data with a GIS database to provide a localized, high-resolution visualization of the prevalence of obesity. Additional data sources can also be added to the map to allow researchers and health officials greater flexibility in customizing the map to support analysis and decision-making on a community level.
  • The Health Demographic Analysis Tool – Visualizing the Cross-Sector Relationship Between Obesity and Social Determinants (3rd place): This interactive database maps the relationship between the social determinants of health (factors like educational attainment, income, and lifestyle choices) and health outcomes in order to illustrate what plays a role in community health. The powerful images generated by this tool provide compelling material for new health interventions as well as a way to look retrospectively at the impact of existing public health campaigns.
  • U.S. Obesity and Healthy Living Locator (honorable mention): This data visualization tool provides a user interface that integrates obesity data with county-level information on physical activity, access to nutritional food, and socioeconomic status. Researchers are able to compare these statistics at a glance in order to inform more precisely targeted public health interventions.
  • Obesity Prevention Through Conversation (honorable mention — consumer-focused): This app creates a template for clinicians to engage patients in productive, data-driven conversations about their health. Combining a patient risk summary with a health dashboard and discussion prompts, the tool facilitates positive, patient-centered counseling around obesity.

Read more.

National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development

Public health associations and agencies have traditionally suffered from the “silo” effect; different sectors or groups receive distinct funding and develop individual approaches to improvement. This has been the case in public health workforce development as well. There is no unified source of funding for workforce development, so the workforce often lacks coordination and a unified focus for improving the foundational knowledge and cross-training needed to address an increasingly complex approach to population health improvement.

The de Beaumont Foundation brought together a group of public health leaders from national partners, agencies, and associations to serve on a National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development. Drawing on the work of de Beaumont’s and ASTHO’s PH WINS project and previous work, the consortium conducted an asset analysis of issues that public health workers had identified as priorities — systems thinking, change management, persuasive communications, informatics and analytics, problem-solving, and working with diverse populations. The consortium explored approaches to expand access to, and reduce redundancy in, existing curricula and training. They focused on developing partnerships with healthcare and private sector organizations to find common interests in trainings for transferable skills. Finally, the consortium developed recommendations for a national model to simplify learning pathways and define a best practices approach to public health workforce development. Read the report.

HealthLead

Partner: Alliance to Make US HealthiestTM

As healthcare costs and the rate of chronic illness continue to grow in the United States, businesses are seeking new ways to encourage healthy behavior among employees. Healthy workers are vital to a productive, efficient, and financially sound workplace. Although workplace wellness programs are on the rise, with 67 percent of U.S. employers offering an option, universal criteria for comprehensiveness or completion of these programs does not exist. The basic act of implementing a program does not guarantee significant change when the quality of offered programs is not upheld to any standard.

Through the Alliance to Make US Healthiest, the de Beaumont Foundation supported the continued development and implementation of HealthLead™, a national accreditation program for workplace wellness programs. HealthLead™ worked to establish guidelines and standards for comprehensive worksite health management and engage employers to expand and improve their current wellness activities. For employees, standards in quality for workplace wellness programs can lead to an improvement in overall health. For employers, accreditation offers the potential of reduced healthcare costs, reduced insurance premiums, increased employee attendance, and more active engagement in the workplace.

Companies are assessed in areas of physical activity, nutrition, job safety, and work/life balance. The assessment is based in tangible, measurable outcomes. Since HealthLead’s creation in 2012, organizations such as Target Corporation, ING DIRECT, Intel, and the Ohio State University have participated in the process.

Valuing Prevention

The de Beaumont Foundation joined with several other funders to support the creation of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee to determine how best to measure the value of community-based, nonclinical prevention policies and strategies. Current economic frameworks and methods fall short of predicting the costs, savings, and other benefits of prevention. Through the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, the committee conducted an ad hoc study to develop a framework for assessing the value of community-based, non-clinical prevention policies and wellness strategies, especially those targeting the prevention of long-term chronic diseases.

This framework focused on currently available and other potential approaches for assessing non-clinical and community-level interventions designed to prevent disease and poor health. The final deliverable was a consensus report outlining the committee’s framework. The target audiences for the report included policymakers, providers, public health practitioners, community-based practitioners, and funders who are responsible for allocating program implementation funds and evaluation resources. See the report, An Integrated Framework for Assessing the Value of Community-Based Prevention.

Maximizing Public Health Partnerships with Medicaid to Improve Population Health

Grantee: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

With funding and support from the de Beaumont Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) created an initiative to increase collaboration between Medicaid and state health agencies to improve population health while lowering Medicaid costs. With the Foundation’s support, an Experts’ Medicaid-Public Health Group was created to identify successful examples of collaboration, develop best practices, and create learning modules to implement partnerships. The group applied lessons from in-depth case studies of successful collaborations, such as partnerships between Medicaid and the public health sector to improve perinatal care while reducing overall spending in the area. The initiative resulted in educational tools and a database of best practices and procedures to build partnerships, improve health, and reduce Medicaid costs. View the resources.

Informatics

Grantee: Task Force for Global Health/Public Health Informatics Institute

Public health is dependent on information and data, and health care reform has accelerated the use of electronic data and automation. Public health agencies are increasingly being called upon to implement information systems that integrate and exchange data with their community partners, including clinicians, hospitals, and laboratories. At the same time, budget cuts are forcing agencies to streamline workflows and do more with less. The de Beaumont Foundation has worked to build empower health professionals with informatics skills through hands-on trainings.

Executive Informatics: The de Beaumont Foundation helped create an online training program for executives that helps public health leaders keep up with constantly evolving technology related to public health informatics. The distance-based learning platform included a series of webinars and podcasts, a toolbox, and a virtual community.

Informatics Academy: Through funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the Public Health Informatics Institute, in collaboration with the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, created the Public Health Informatics Academy. The academy provides public health managers with hands-on skills in key informatics competencies, such as developing and documenting information system requirements, managing projects, and analyzing stakeholder communication needs, among others.

Informatics for Everyone: The first critical step in gaining an informatics-savvy public health workforce is helping practitioners understand the relevance of informatics to the practical information problems they face every day. With funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the Public Health Informatics Institute created a series of distance-learning activities that helped practitioners shift the perception of their roles from a specific disease or condition view to an information view. These activities were aimed at demystifying the term “informatics” and helping practitioners see that informatics is an important part of their knowledge and skill toolkit. Watch the animated “Informatics for Everyone” videos.

Public Health Informatics Training Network: The de Beaumont Foundation and Public Health Informatics Institute hosted a meeting in March 2012 to discuss informatics training needs. After identifying a need for better coordination around informatics training, the Foundation provided additional funding to develop a shared action agenda for designing and conducting public health informatics training. The agenda organized partners’ efforts and focus on training; helped keep partners mutually and collegially accountable for their activities and efforts; and provided input into new investment opportunities for funders. Ultimately, this project helped identify, prioritize, and satisfy informatics training needs among the public health workforce.