The Turning Point Initiative

Turning Point: Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health was designed in a pre-September 11th world, between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in an effort to transform the nation's public health system. The author examines the concept behind Turning Point, in particular, the notion of public-private-nongovernmental collaboration which lies at the heart of the program's vision. He describes the various activities of theTurning Point grantees and highlights their work in five states. Implementation of the program was slow and not always smooth. There were cultural differences between the two foundations which had to be addressed. Concern about bioterrorism preparedness and the infusion of federal funds complicated the initiative, forcing states to deal with terrorism as a transforming event, even as they tried to be the forces that would transform public health. By 2004, Turning Point had reached a funding level of more than $40 million and represents the largest privately funded attempt to strengthen the public health system in the nation's history.