EHF VP Kristen and BHT Executive Director Alison talk housing and health

Source: Urban Institute. Mapping America’s Rental Housing Crisis.

Source: Urban Institute. Mapping America’s Rental Housing Crisis.

Curious about how EHF is working with partners to address health and housing?  Check out the latest edition of MyView, a periodic publication put out by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, to learn more about our joint efforts with our subsidiary Better Health Together and our nonprofit partners Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America to improve health and housing outcomes for chronically homeless individuals.

Meet Jeff Bell, February's Featured Board Member

We are excited to continue our monthly series highlighting our Board of Directors!  This month we are delighted to feature Jeff Bell.  Take a look at the interview below!

And in case you missed it, you can check out our first three Board Member interviews with Sue Lani MadsenMatt LaytonTodd Koyama, Mary Selecky, and Gary Stokes on our blog.


Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Partner with Gallatin Public Affairs and counsel clients in the areas of politics, public policy and crisis communication

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up near Portland Oregon and convinced my parents that I needed to attend college in southern California.  Besides enjoying the sun, I went to film school at USC and worked in the film business primarily as a film editor in TV and later on feature films.  I loved the business, but wanted to get back to the NW when Kristi and I started our family. So we moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 1989 and shortly got involved in politics which eventually led me to Gallatin where I started in 1997.  Kristi and I have two grown daughters, a dog named Sammi and live on Diamond Lake.  We could not be happier with our choice to life and work in this great area. 

What is your favorite book?

I had the great fortune to work on Out of Africa and was introduced to literature from that era in Africa.  Besides the wonderful works of Isak Dinesen, I particularly like a book called “West with the Night” written by a women aviator of the time Beryl Markham.  Once you read the book, you won’t forget it. 

How long have you been a member of the EHF Board?

I am beginning my second year as a board member

What attracted you to the Empire Health Foundation Board of Directors?

I had the good fortune of working with the Foundation as a consultant on several projects and was immediately impressed with the mission, ambition, and skill of the leadership and staff in making real change in our region.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

Most everything.  I am particularly excited about the foundation’s work on childhood obesity, foster care, and rural health care.  In just a short period of time working in partnership with other great organizations, real positive changes are happening.

Has anything surprised you about Empire Health Foundation?  If so, what?

I had some familiarity of the Foundation before joining the board, but I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed with the number of initiatives and activities the Foundation has initiated and continues to invest in to better the health of every resident of this region.  It is truly impressive.

Finally, when you have an out-of-town guest visit, what is your “must do” in your community?

It depends on the season, but kayaking on one of our lakes or down a river is a great way for a guest to experience the beauty of our area.

2016 Rural Aging Responsive Grant Cycle now open!

Yoga instructor Suzy McNeilly and Whitman County Library Program Coordinator Sara Garza set up for a yoga class for older adults as part of their 2015 Rural Aging Responsive Grant project, "Making Connections for Older Adults."

Yoga instructor Suzy McNeilly and Whitman County Library Program Coordinator Sara Garza set up for a yoga class for older adults as part of their 2015 Rural Aging Responsive Grant project, "Making Connections for Older Adults."

Empire Health Foundation's Rural Aging Responsive Grant Cycle has one purpose: to provide up to $15,000 of funding for a broad range of one-time projects designed to help adults age 60 and over live full, meaningful lives with independence and dignity. Projects in the following regions are eligible: Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, and Whitman Counties, as well as the Colville, Kalispel, and Spokane Reservations.

Key areas of interest include:

Community care integration

Projects concerned with delivery of services and supports that allow older adults to maintain independence and dignity, and to stay in their homes and communities as long as possible.

Workforce development and geriatric education

Projects designed to increase the quality and/or quantity of the direct-care workforce serving older adults, especially in home and community-based settings.


Projects involving the development and implementation of technological tools to support older adults and/or their caregivers.

Family/informal caregivers

Projects providing support (training, education, respite, etc.) to unpaid family and informal caregivers.

Transitions in care

Projects concerning services and supports for seniors moving between care settings (e.g. coming home from the hospital, or moving from a rehabilitative stay in a nursing home into a home with a family member).

Chronic disease prevention and management

Projects that implement programs designed to help seniors prevent or manage chronic diseases.

Psychosocial wellbeing and engagement

Projects designed to keep seniors engaged and active in their communities, connected to others, and valued for their wisdom and life experience.

Intergenerational engagement

Projects providing opportunities for seniors to engage with youth and younger adults in their communities.

Contact Jeri Rathbun at 509-919-3047 or for more information.

Kristen West Fisher presents at Health Innovation Leadership Network

Our VP of Programs Kristen West Fisher recently presented on Eastern Washington's efforts to improve oral health throughout the region at the Washington Health Care Authority's Health Innovation Leadership Network meeting last month.  She highlighted the great work being done by our subsidiary Better Health Together through their Dental Emergencies Needing Treatment (DENT) program, which aims to reduce dental-related emergency service use for Medicaid patients.  By growing the network of Medicaid dental providers and helping clients access preventive dental care, this program has already saved an estimated $2 million in emergency room funds in the first 18 months.  Check out Kristen's full presentation below.


Better Health Together helping community members enroll in health insurance plans

Check out this great feature from the Spokesman Review about the fantastic work our subsidiary Better Health Together is doing to help folks in Eastern Washington sign up for health insurance.  If you want to learn more about BHT and what they are doing to help make Eastern Washington the state's healthiest region, take a look at their website.