The Washington Health Foundation (WHF) has long been known as one of our state’s innovation leaders. In 2008, WHF launched yet another ambitious project. This one was designed to help ensure that our state’s youth achieved their place as the HEALTHIEST GENERATION. The effort, supported by a coalition of funding organizations and partners including the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the Regence Foundation, Pfizer, PhRMA, The Partnership for a Drug Free America, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and WHF’s own Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign, spurred a number of social innovations that continue to improve the health of the people of Washington state. Among the most important programs that grew directly out of this work include the Foundation’s HEALTH 3.0 concept, it’s suite of personal empowerment Health HoME tools & resources, and the development of it’s PERSONAL HEALTH ADVOCATE SERVICE.
The multi-year project incorporated a number of innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to solving entrenched social problems – notably prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse and misuse.
From early research efforts focused on listening deeply to the expressed needs and contextual behaviors of college students to the participatory College Health Leadership Summit to the design of relationship-enhancing tools and guides that positively deviated from traditional ‘fear and intimidation tactics’, the project was an astounding success and received regional, state, and national attention and recognition.
In the years since the project concluded, the Foundation has carried forward and iterated on various elements of it. Of particular value, was the knowledge that ‘problems’ are often symptomatic expressions of root cause social instability and flux. That comprehensive understanding of how transitions affect people continues to influence our design philosophy and played a major role in the development of our latest groundbreaking program – the CENTER for PEOPLE’S HEALTH. It also provided the framework for our Workers-in-Transition program and serves as the basis for proposals we have in progress to address the unique health needs of aging adults – particularly those suffering from autism, schizophrenia and dementia.
One of the first projects we hope to conduct through the CENTER for PEOPLE’S HEALTH will return us to the genesis of our Health HoME concept as we seek to address the health issues of young adults and college students who are experiencing one of the most uncertain and transitory eras in history. We seek to ensure that population has the tools, resources and information it needs to live up to its billing as the HEALTHIEST GENERATION in our nation’s history.