Kuliva Wilburn, The Chicago Community Trust

TITLE: Senior Program Officer, Health

FUNDING AREAS: Access to health care

CONTACT: kwilburn@cct.org, 312-616-8000, ext. 119

IP TAKE: Wilburn has a wide range of personal interests, but she's fully devoted to the health needs of Chicago residents, and she's the gatekeeper for the health grantmaking program at The Chicago Community Trust.

PROFILE: Kuliva Wilburn enjoys contemporary jazz, weekly meditation, jewelry, and government transparency debates. This last one is particularly useful, since she holds the powerful position of senior program officer at The Chicago Community Trust (CCT).

Before joining The CCT in 2011, Wilburn worked as manager of planning and development at Access Community Health Network. Her focus there was on engaging high-risk populations in programs and services that eliminate health disparities, which still holds true with her work at The CCT today. At The CCT, she has been successful in incorporating her experience with primary-care delivery, federally qualified health centers, and underserved groups, emphasizing obesity prevention and access to health care in Chicago's poorest communities.

Wilburn comes to her work in health care with a hands-on understanding, literally starting at the cellular level. While obtaining a bachelor's degree in biochemistry/biotechnology at Philadelphia's Drexel University, Wilburn worked concurrently for Merck & Co. as a protein biochemist conducting research on a Hepatitis B vaccine. After college graduation and two more years for the pharma, she moved on to policy research and a two year stint at the Amerian Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., then two more years at University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Equity.

Chicago suited her, and so did the policy side of the health equation. Wilburn retured to school for her masters in health policy and administration from University of Illinois at Chicago (received in 2008) while also working her job at Access Community Health Network. Along the way she's also picked up skills in the nonprofit life through development and fundraising consulting gigs with NASA and the Health Care Consortium of Illinois.

Oh, did we mention that she's also currently in the midst of obtaining her doctorate in public health, also from the University of Illinois at Chicago? And that in June 2013 she was selected as one of 21 influential Chicagoans to participate in a two-year Chicago Council on Global Affairs emerging leaders program? Or that she represents The Chicago Community Trust on the Chicago Governor’s Alliance for Health Task Force, the Cook County Court’s Justice & Health Initiative, the Donor’s Forum of Chicago, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute/Chicago Collaborative?

Yes. All that and more.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs
21 Chicago Leaders to Participate in Two-Year Chicago Council Program - See more at: http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/Files/About_Us/Press_Releases/FY13_Releases/EL_Class_2015_Release.aspx#sthash.3zUPc8jz.dpuf

Probably needless to say that Wilburn's well-spoken and opinionated about legal and government issues. She's also a strong supporter of equal rights for women and African Americans.

Despite her welcoming public profile, you'll still have a challenge competing with other nonprofits for a CCT grant for your health-based organization. The CCT accepts Health Program requests for proposals (RFPs) in three categories: preventing obesity (RFPs due in March), improving access to health care (RFPs due in July), and implementing health system reform (RFPs due in November). It's no secret that many uninsured and poverty-stricken families live in Chicago, and although the city has invested substantially in public health care, more can be done. Wilburn envisions that the Chicago metropolitan area can one day be a healthier place with a more organized system of care for uninsured residents.

If your non-profit organization is working to prevent and reduce obesity in children and adults, you'll need to base your services in one of Chicago's most obese low-income neighborhoods. A list of the 48 neighborhoods considered (yes, there are a whopping 48 of them) is posted on The CT Health page. Your programs should involve a solution to the $3.4 billion in annual health-care costs related to adult obesity and also obese children in minority groups. If you're eyeing a CCT grant to improve access to health care, you'll need to demonstrate how you can provide primary and secondary care services for the uninsured and eliminate duplicity among city, state, and federal resources.

Last, but certainly not least, is the overarching issue of health-care reform. If your nonprofit has a foolproof plan to implement health system reform, you're definitely encouraged to apply for a CCT grant. The CCT helps provide planning and support resources for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has fundamentally improved health care for millions of Chicago residents. For The CCT to award your organization such a grant, you'd better have a good model for quality and affordable health care ready, as well as a successful demonstration of improved quality of care and cost savings. The goals of your organization should align with those of the ACA for Wilburn and The CCT to get behind you as well.

All inquiries about proposals and health programs should be directed to Wilburn at kwilburn@cct.org