From 1996 to 2000, Katharine S. Pinneo conducted a feasibility study for replicating the New Jersey Capitol Forums on Health and Medical Care program in other states.
The forums are an ongoing, politically neutral series of meetings of state health policy-makers and stakeholders (legislators, executive branch officials, and private groups) to exchange ideas, debate issues and consider balanced information about health policy issues.
In a 1998 report to RWJF, the project director made the following recommendations:
- RWJF should invite six states to submit proposals to undertake the development of Forums-like programs to begin in the fall of 1998.
- Funding for each state should be based on the understanding that local and state foundations and other entities would join in funding the forums.
- A National Program Advisory Panel should be established to help the state programs start up operations and to assist with program development.
- A National Technical Assistance Program should be established to help states organize and implement their own programs, providing a broad range of guidance including identifying funders, providing support for the review and development of Issue Briefs and facilitation methods, and assisting in the selection of topics and types of speakers for the first Forums.
In 1998, the Forums Institute for Public Policy was established in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) organization to administer New Jersey Policy Forums on Health and Medical Care. With $2.9 million in funding from RWJF, it set up a State Forums Partnership Program to replicate the New Jersey Policy Forums on Health and Medical Care in other states.
The program was funded from 1997 through 2005 under the direction of JoAnne Kennedy.
The program offered technical assistance to organizations starting or exploring the feasibility of starting a policy forum in their state.