June 2012 John Weeks Round-up on Philanthropy

Hugely influential Bravewell Collaborative announces plans to sunset operations in 2013

In June 1, 2011, the Bravewell Collaborative of philanthropists for integrative medicine sent a letter to donors, friends and supporters to announce that “the timing is appropriate to sunset the organization – as it is structured today – at the end of 2013.” They state that there is yet “more to come” prior to shutting the collaboration down. Below is the letter, in full, in respect for the Bravewell’s contribution.   

“Over the past decade, members of The Bravewell Collaborative have worked together to transform the culture of healthcare by advancing the adoption of integrative medicine. This catalytic effort not only resulted in extraordinary outcomes, it also established a unique and effective model for excellence in collaborative philanthropy.

“As many thoughtful philanthropic organizations have done in the past, The Bravewell Collaborative believes that the ten-year mark is an appropriate and strategic time to review its accomplishments relative to the mission and goals it set when it was created in 2001. A description of our accomplishments is included with this letter and we assure you that there are more to come. 

“Bravewell has always stated that its goal was to not exist, once it had accomplished what it set out to do – an unusual goal for a philanthropic organization, but one that has always been at the foundation of all of Bravewell’s strategies and initiatives.

“After thoughtful deliberations, Bravewell members have concluded that the timing is appropriate to sunset the organization  – as it is structured today – at the end of 2013. 

“We are currently involved in strategic planning to ensure that several of the key programs will be sustainable for many years to come and continue to promote the health and wellbeing of us all.

“The members recognize that Bravewell’s goals were achieved not only from their own collaborative efforts, but also through the enduring partnerships it built with other institutions and individuals.  We cannot thank these partners enough and we want to assure all involved that as soon as we have finalized our planning, we will communicate the strategies for the continuance of the key initiatives.

“We are planning our final Bravewell event for November 7, 2013 in New York City.  The daytime Lectures & Luncheon, moderated by Jon LaPook, will take place at the Grand Hyatt and the evening black-tie dinner, emceed by Mehmet Oz, will be held at Cipriani.

“We look forward to seeing all of you, our strategic partners and our loyal supporters, at both of these very special events.”

Sincerely,

The Bravewell Collaborative Executive Committee

Christy Mack, President
Penny George, Vice President
Ann Lovell, Treasurer
Sherry Lund, Secretary 

Comment: Bravewell’s contributions are hard to overstate. In early January of 2010 I wrote up a piece called A Short History in the Form of a Top 10 for the Decade in Integrative Medicine. Just after #1, the “Publication of the Report of the White House Commission on CAM Policy,” I put: “Founding and Strategic Partnerships of the Bravewell Collaborative of Philanthropists for Integrative Medicine.” In truth, I had mis-remembered, as I began writing this, that I had placed Bravewell as #1. The #1 spot is where it belonged. After all, #3 on my list was the “Founding and Expansion of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.” Bravewell midwifed that organization’s birth and helped substantially to rear that Consortium through 2012. My #9 was Institute of Medicine National Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public, which the Bravewell conceived and wholly funded. Bravewell’s other projects such as mapping the field, funding a clinical network, publishing foundational documents, sponsoring a 2006 PBS feature, are amply displayed on Bravewell’s website.

The impact of the Bravewell on institutional integrative medicine is huge. At the same time, the organization had its biases and areas of closure. Bravewell favored (and favors) medical doctors, and above all medical doctors in academic health centers as agents of change in US health care. As such, the collaborative did not explore some strategic partnerships that may have been useful in advancing its outspoken, transformational mission. Like the passing of any influential, powerful parent, new opportunities will arise with Bravewell, the organization, no longer enthroned in the family system. For now, I’m looking forward to the “more to come” in the next 18 months. We should all be deeply grateful that these individuals, mainly women in the 55-65 range (and the men behind them) have collaborated to accomplish for a healing-oriented health care.  

Foundation consortium in $8.6-million boost for new National Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation have collectively committed up to $8.6 million over five years to support creation of a National Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice. The commitment follows an announcement by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that the agency would create such a center. The center’s purpose is “to accelerate team work and collaboration among doctors, nurses and other health professionals- as well as patients-and break down the traditional silo-approach to health professions education.” The timing is linked to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act: “The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act along with the evolution of accountable care organizations, medical homes, and other new models of care have injected new energy and enthusiasm in interprofessional models of education and practice to improve quality, safety and access to health care. Sponsors of the new national center hope its creation will accelerate these activities.” The HRSA website includes an RFP on the coordinating center

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation up to $8.6 million over five years to support creation of a . The commitment follows an announcement by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that the agency would create such a center. The center’s purpose is “to accelerate team work and collaboration among doctors, nurses and other health professionals- as well as patients-and break down the traditional silo-approach to health professions education.” The timing is linked to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act: “The implementation of the along with the evolution of accountable care organizations, medical homes, and other new models of care have injected new energy and enthusiasm in interprofessional models of education and practice to improve quality, safety and access to health care. Sponsors of the new national center hope its creation will accelerate these activities.” The HRSA website includes an . 

Comment: Credit the leadership of both the Obama administration and the Macy-led foundation community for elevating team care in U.S. medicine during the last 18 months. Their work was been focused, multifaceted and and relentless – as it has needed to be given the structural and economic obstacles. George Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation states: “We know that health care delivered in teams is better health care. But we will never be able to change the delivery system until we change how health professionals are educated. We are excited to help facilitate a center like this, which we believe will take interprofessional education and practice to a critical new level.”

The Obama administration, for its part, passed the Affordable Care Act. This put some financial incentives behind team care. It has also rolled HRSA director Mary Wakefield, RN, PhD out as a key spokesperson and collaborator for team care. Mainly I credit Thibault. He made it clear in a May 2011 press conference in which Wakefield participated that this time the movement for team care will not be stifled by perverse incentives against what he simply calls “better health care.” Now, its time for the integrative health community to finds its way more deeply into this team care work.