Which Funders Are Leading the Children's Health Leadership Network?

The passage of the Affordable Care Act was good news for uninsured Americans, but it didn't solve the immense challenge of ensuring that all low-income children get the healthcare they need. In fact, it created some new complexities around the Children's Health Insurance Program, a federal-state partnership that assists families in securing healthcare coverage for kids. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are very concerned about the future of the program that served 8.1 million children in 2014. Now, three foundations have partnered to develop a network of leaders to advocate for children's healthcare policy in a tricky political and policy landscape.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies have launched the Children's Health Leadership Network to develop and mobilize 100 children's healthcare advocates across the country over the next decade. The first class of leaders comprises 16 healthcare policy experts from 13 states, who will begin the 16-month development program in January 2016. Nine in-depth seminars cover topics such as adaptive leadership, data-driven advocacy, effective messaging, and leveraging networks.

"Our goal is to support these leaders as they work to bring about sustained progress at the national, state, and local levels that furthers the health of all our children," said Dr. Liane Wong, a program officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. "We know that real and transformational change requires smart, thoughtful, and committed leaders that reflect the communities we seek to serve while fully engaging in their own learning and readiness to take up the opportunities and challenges ahead."

It's not surprising to see these three funders working together on this. Packard and Casey have long worked on children's health issues, while Atlantic Philanthropies, which aims to wind down by 2016, is keenly interested in promoting health equity.   

The Children's Health Leadership Network expects to produce leaders who can communicate results, engage others to improve systems, leverage data and partnerships, and execute policy strategies. But it all boils down to helping their leaders advance healthcare policy that protects our nation's most vulnerable children.