NNPHI Annual Conference: Talking With Robert Ross, President of the California Endowment

May 19, 2011, 3:49 PM, Posted by


Public health, institutes and health philanthropy share the burden and opportunity of driving a prevention, health equity and social determinants of health agenda, said Robert Ross, M.D., president and C.E.O. of the California Endowment, a private health foundation working to improve the health status of all Californians.

Ross was a keynote speaker at the tenth annual conference of the National Network of Public Health Institutes, which met this week in New Orleans.

Ross says the Endowment works to transform unhealthy communities for kids into healthy ones. He notes that in addition to the need for innovative ways to prevent chronic disease at the community level, and the science base to support it, we must recognize the immensely important role that politics and power play in scaling systemic change. “The half-century tobacco wars in our nation are a case in point,” Ross points out.

Ross says that there is a "new normal" in the health and health care environment including budget cuts, safety net cuts, ACA implementation and political wars, and the downsizing of government.

“Public health institutes play a role in helping translate practice and research into policy and systemic change at the state and regional level,” he says.

Ross also argues that a need exists to be more attentive for new strategies and ways to advance the prevention and public health approach to improving health and cutting costs.

And, says Ross, public health institutes and health philanthropy must find ways to “Tao into successful community based innovative practices and lift up successes via effective storytelling for impact.”

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.