Region’s grantmakers and governments partner to solve health problems

The national capital region’s grantmakers and governments are now working together to find gaps in regional health services. Planning began earlier this month at a meeting between Washington Grantmakers’ Health Working Group (HWG) and The Metropolitan Washington Regional Council of Governments’ (COG) Health Officials Committee.

HWG and COG met to discuss how the public sector and private philanthropy can build synergy and leverage each others’ work to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in the region. As a result of the meeting, HWG will research the region’s private sector health foundations to determine funding priorities, current initiatives, and grants made in the past year. Meanwhile, health officers from each local government represented by COG will create a matrix summarizing the roles and functions of each municipality’s health department. The two groups will reconvene in September to choose priority areas for deeper collaboration.

Officials and grantmakers also discussed the need for better, more accessible regional health data to help identify service gaps, inform programs, and track progress. A committee of health officers and funders will soon form to look closely at regional data needs and means for obtaining better data.  

Grantmakers interested in becoming involved in this partnership as it evolves, or just learning more about it, should contact WG’s Director of Public Policy Carolynn Mambu, or one of the HWG co-chairs: Margaret O’Bryon (, Mardell Moffett (

See also:
* HWG’s Powerpoint presentation from the June 9 meeting
* COG’s Health Strategies for 2007
* Recent issues of COG’s Health Capsules publication

COG’s health work 
In recent years COG’s Health Officials Committee has focused on emergency preparedness, but is now exploring other regional health issues including access to care, environmental health, and obesity. COG is working with partners to define and address other issues.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is currently working with both George Washington University School of Public Health and Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology.  This work would build upon and expand the Metropolitan Washington Community Health Indicators Report published in 2001 by the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Assessment Center in partnership with COG and funded in part by some HWG members.

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