Journal of Business Highlights 2015 EHF Responsive Grant Award Recipients

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EHF extends a big thanks to the Journal of Business for highlighting our 2015 Responsive Grants Program!  This year we received 109 applications for a total of $1.3 million in funding, and we were able to grant $255,000 to 31 projects throughout our seven counties.  Check out the Journal of Business' Morning Edition below for a snippet of funded projects, and stay tuned for a full report on our 2015 Responsive Grant Program!

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Oral Health Symposiums Bring Statewide Partners Together

At EHF, we believe that good oral health and access to dental care are key to supporting healthy communities, so we were proud to partner with the Washington Dental Service Foundation and the Washington State Board of Health to sponsor Oral Health Symposiums in Tukwila and Spokane earlier this year.  These symposiums brought together statewide partners working to move the dial on oral health in Washington State, including Washington State Board of Health Chair Jim Sledge (pictured below at the Spokane Symposium).

Washington State Board of Health Chair Jim Sledge gives an overview of statewide strategies BOH is deploying in working to improve oral health throughout Washington State.

Washington State Board of Health Chair Jim Sledge gives an overview of statewide strategies BOH is deploying in working to improve oral health throughout Washington State.

Much of the discussion at the symposiums emphasized the role of oral health in overall health, as well as the implications for delivery systems change within the transforming healthcare environment.  Additionally, presentations explored the connections between oral health and population health, and the implications of the triple aim for oral health delivery.

Check out the complete set of slides from both symposiums below:

Finally, Kristen, our VP of programs, gave a great overview on the role of Accountable Communities of Health in supporting population oral health.  Check it out below!

Meet Sue Lani Madsen, Our Featured Board Member for September 2015

We at EHF are excited to launch a new monthly series highlighting our fabulous Board of Directors!  Our first featured board member is Sue Lani Madsen, founding board member and former Board Chair.  Take a look at our interview with Sue Lani below!

Featured Board Member: Sue Lani Madsen

I am excited at how we have done so much more than just safeguard the endowment and hand out money in responsive grants. Our strategic initiatives are already starting to show positive results in the short term, and I look forward to seeing long term change.
— Sue Lani Madsen

Who are you and what do you do?

Sue Lani W. Madsen

Architect, rancher, writer (and a whole bunch of other hats, depending on the day)

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Spokane, attended Washington State University in Pullman, and moved to the Reardan/Edwall community in eastern Lincoln County after graduating with a degree in architecture. For 19 years, I commuted to work in Spokane five days a week while my family enjoyed small town living seven days a week. In 1997, I left the large architectural company I was working for and started a home based practice. My healthcare interest grew out of my architectural work as Project Manager for the Spokane Shriners Hospital for Children and out of small projects for many of the rural hospitals in eastern Washington. I’m also an Emergency Medical Technician with our local volunteer fire district, and have served with the district for 25 years.

What is your favorite book?

The Bible gets top billing, and beyond that my tastes are quite eclectic. Off the top of my head I’d list The Bridge at Andau (James Michener), I Married Adventure (Osa Johnson), Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), and Team of Rivals (Doris Kearns Goodwin). My shelves are literally overflowing with books I’ve read and books I plan to read. And then there’s my collection of antique textbooks on various subjects. If I had my druthers, I’d live in a library. Some people say I do live in a library!

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

Seven years.  I was one of the founding Board members. We met prior to the creation of the Foundation in late summer 2008, and officially became a Board on October 1st of that year.

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

My mother was a graduate of the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, I was a Candy Striper there for several summers, and it had always been our family hospital. I had been following the news about the new foundation that would be created by the sale, and volunteered to serve.  As past President of the Washington Rural Health Association and a long time rural resident, I felt I had a unique perspective on rural healthcare issues to bring to the Board.  I am a passionate spokesman for rural communities.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

The pivotal choice we made was in the hiring of our first President. We had two excellent candidates, one with a solid track record in philanthropic foundation work and one with a plan and a passion for taking philanthropy in a new direction.  We took the new direction along with Antony Chiang. I am excited at how we have done so much more than just safeguard the endowment and hand out money in responsive grants.  Our strategic initiatives are already starting to show positive results in the short term, and I look forward to seeing long term change.

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

I was vaguely aware of the non-profit sector, but did not realize how big of an economic factor foundations and charities are in the economy until I had the opportunity to participate in training, conferences and workshops on behalf of EHF. Board membership carries a heavy responsibility to spend and save wisely.

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

When we have guests, we take them to our fire department for a tour. It is a quintessential small town experience. Everybody likes to ride on a big red fire truck!

Whitman County Library Is "Making Connections for Mature Adults"

Check out the following press release describing the wide range of programming offered by our partners at the Whitman County Library supported in part by a grant from our Rural Aging Responsive Cycle!


Instructor Suzy McNeilly and project coordinator Sara Garza sort through yoga equipment for new classes.  Photo Credit: Whitman County Library.

Instructor Suzy McNeilly and project coordinator Sara Garza sort through yoga equipment for new classes.  Photo Credit: Whitman County Library.

Whitman County Library announces a new series of programs called “Making Connections for Mature Adults.”  This series of classes, one-on-one programming and informal get-togethers will serve the county though the library’s 14 branches, community locations and in-home visits. These programs are made possible by an $11,000 grant from Empire Health Foundation.

In getting the program rolling, project coordinator Sara Garza is seeking assistance from residents and communities. She says, “If you’d like to participate I hope you will give me a call. Getting these services out to residents across our county is a valuable component of the project.”

The first class set to begin is called “Yin & Balance Yoga,” which will run each Monday starting June 22 from 8:30-9:15 a.m. in the Colfax Library. Taught by Suzy McNeilly, a Yoga Alliance certified instructor the class will improve balance, strength and flexibility for mature adults.  Props and chairs will be used and exercise routines will be modified to incorporate health and mobility issues. 

“Intergenerational Rural Heritage Conversations” are lively discussions about “the olden days” and available by appointment.  Small groups, pairs, families, and all ages are invited to participate in these lively discussions of the past. The library is seeking mature participants with historic local photos and memories to share with the community and with younger generations during these interactive sessions. 

If you’d like to participate I hope you will give me a call. Getting these services out to residents across our county is a valuable component of the project.
— Sara Garza, Project Coordinator, Whitman County Library

“Technology and Everyday Living,” are one-on-one or group instructional classes available by appointment. These classes help mature adults navigate computers or the many aspects of today’s technological world. Examples might be navigating your doctor’s websites and patient portals, online banking or navigating Facebook to follow friends and family.

“Care Giver Coffee Connection Support Group” with Melissa Johnson from Rural Resources will begin August 17 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and continue on the first and third Mondays of each month.  This facilitated caregiver support group will be held in The Center providing caregivers with coffee, snacks, conversation, information, resources, and strategies.  Caregivers are invited to bring their “loved ones” along who will gather simultaneously with Sara Garza for fun activities and conversation.

To participate or schedule informal coffee groups, card games or other activities contact Sarah McKnight at Whitman County Library 509-397-4366 or sarah@whitco.lib.wa.us. 

Program Coordinator Christina Kamkosi selected to Inland Business Catalyst Magazine's Top 20 Under 40!

Congratulations to our very own Christina Kamkosi for being selected to Inland Business Catalyst Magazine's Top 20 Under 40!  Twenty young professionals under the age of 40 were chosen out of 60 nominees for this honor, and we are so proud to announce that Christina made the final list!

A little more about Christina...

Christina is a Program Coordinator for Responsive Grants and Capacity Building Programs. She landed in Spokane July of 2010 from Malawi, in the southeastern part of Africa. Christina has a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication from African Bible College and she also holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Whitworth University. She first started as a fellow in 2013 before she officially joined the EHF team in October of 2014.  She was recently being selected to Inland Business Catalyst Magazines "Top 20 Under 40," which recognizes young professionals "to be reckoned with" in Eastern Washington. Additionally she is certified as a Qualified Administrator for Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a tool that assesses intercultural competence. Christina is looking forward to continue partnering with different organizations working to improve the wellbeing of people in our community and region.

Learn more about Inland Business Catalyst Magazine's Top 20 Under 40 at their Facebook page!