We will support the planning and implementation of innovative projects that align existing resources in a community to address an important health problem. Projects in this focus area will show how new collaborations between public health departments, health care providers, and community-based organizations can yield improvements in health and more efficient use of existing funds, staff, and organizations. This portfolio supports systems-based solutions that make measurable improvements in health outcomes and could be replicated in other Montana communities. Projects funded under this focus area will create new inter-agency partnerships designed to deliver more accessible and effective care or prevent disease and improve health through addressing upstream risk factors such as poverty and poor-quality housing.
These are only examples, and we will gladly consider funding other types of projects if they meet our selection criteria.
Interventions that address upstream risk factors for illness and the social determinants of health: Projects that address health determinants—such as limited opportunities for youth engagement, poor educational outcomes, inadequate community support for seniors, unemployment, or lack of access to healthful foods—through partnerships with organizations outside the health sector.
Public health and prevention planning: Proposals from county public health departments or other eligible applicants for support for business planning for or implementation of well-planned and sustainable prevention programs that address high-priority community health issues. (Note: because MHCF funds are limited, we do not provide long-term, sustaining support for programs.)
Direct collaboration among community agencies (for example, sharing personnel or facilities), such as local health departments, rural hospitals, community mental health, and substance use disorder treatment organizations, and community health centers to address a major health issue: Initiatives that seek to address an important health challenge—such as serving the needs of the aging population, reducing childhood injuries, or improving diabetes outcomes—through new inter-agency collaborations. Given the challenges of recruiting health professionals and the limited funding available in many rural communities, health outcomes could be improved if the region’s health-focused organizations sought ways to collaborate and share resources.
Oral health: Proposals for programs that deliver effective prevention and treatment for tooth decay and have a strong business plan for sustaining the program through, for example, third-party billing or inter-agency partnerships.
Community health teams and other approaches to care coordination and community outreach: Providers are experimenting with a range of models that improve the quality and effectiveness of care by reaching beyond the walls of the clinic or hospital. Care coordinators, community health workers, and promotoras are examples of such efforts. By helping patients understand and follow medical recommendations and keep appointments, and by identifying and helping address the many social, economic, and educational barriers that patients face in their daily lives, these programs can improve health outcomes and reduce the costs associated with frequent emergency department visits and hospitalizations. You can read more about improving care coordination here.