PA Health Collaborative Defines 2024 Priorities and Strategies

PHFC members gather at the organization’s 17th Annual Conference.

The Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative (PHFC)—a network of over 20 health foundations across PA that works at the intersection of health philanthropy and policy—held its 17th Annual Conference in mid-November. PHFC is co-chaired by Jewish Healthcare Foundation Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH, Ann Marie Healy, the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Health Partnership, and Carol Thornton, MPA, the Director of Grants and Public Policy at Partnership for Better Health. Ann Torregrossa is the executive director of the Collaborative.

The conference began with PHFC members sharing their recommendations for the group's 2024 priorities, including expanding access to behavioral health, improving maternal health, supporting school nurses, advocating for youth mental health, and elevating housing as a social determinant of health. Nancy Zionts, MBA, the Foundation's Chief Program Officer and Chief Operations Officer also highlighted why Collaborative members should prioritize aging within their 2024 funding and policy efforts.

Dr. Matt Wintersteen, PhD, associate professor and research director of the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Services at Thomas Jefferson University, then presented on Pennsylvania's 988 suicide and crisis lifeline. Across the State, lifeline staff deescalate most crisis situations over the phone, however, he emphasized the need to strengthen the 988 program's data processes, reach and engagement with underserved communities, and long-term sustainability. A panel then convened multiple stakeholders to discuss healthcare workforce issues and advocacy, including Nicole Stallings, the CEO of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), Matt Yarnell, the President of SEIU, Laureen Tavolaro-Ryley, Professor of Nursing at Philadelphia Community College, and Nikki Weigand, NAMI Keystone Director of Advocacy and Policy.

Dr. Val Arkoosh, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), and Dr. Debra Bogen, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, joined the health funders to discuss dental health, Medicaid waivers, the mental health infrastructure, and public health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference resulted in a new policy agenda for PHFC in 2024, and Robert Ferguson, Ann Marie Healy, and Ann Kennedy, Executive Director of the Touchtone Foundation, were confirmed as PHFC's co-chairs in 2024. 

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