Fiscal issues

If you didn't see it live, take a look at the webinar on public health survival in a falling market-- should be archived at the site in the next week or so.

Here are two things that came out of the session that stuck with me and that seem to apply to our continuing discussion here:
  • Reach Out To Partners: Now may feel like the time for your organization to circle the wagons, pull back, go into your shell.It isn't. Jim Marks at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says now is the time to reach out, and Bobby Pestrunk, the new director of NACCHO, agrees. Here's my take on why: resource deficits make it tough on many different organizations that are trying to make communities more healthy. Bobby points out "your partners are hurting too." The fiscal crisis makes it more important-- and perhaps paradoxically easier-- for you to work together now. Leah Devlin (state health director in NC) talks about going after big grants and lining up health care partners, for instance.
  • Look For New Resources: Of course. Yes, the budget is shrinking. Some things that your organization had been doing will no longer be possible. So what things do you stop doing? The opportunity here is to stop doing things that are inefficient and unimportant... and use the newly-discovered time and energy to do something new, different, more effective, more useful to your constituents, more valuable to your funders, more timely and relevant. As recently as last year, I had public health leaders tell me that their plates were too full, they had more programs and partners than they could track, and that they wished they could get out of some of their long-term commitments!
I'll stop there and listen to what you think--

--Steve Orton