Children’s hospitals consistently seek new ways to go beyond their walls to improve health outcomes for youth by engaging in their communities. For Nemours Children’s Health, that includes partnering with schools, local agencies and community organizations to support initiatives in areas such as nutrition, physical activity, flu shots and literacy screenings.
“By treating the root cause of illness, our ultimate goal is to eliminate avoidable health issues and keep children healthy in the first place,” says Kara Odom Walker, M.D., M.P.H., MSHS, executive vice president and chief population health officer of Nemours Children’s Health. “Addressing these health disparities will allow children to achieve their full potential and live healthier, more productive lives without ever coming through our doors.”
Although this has always been the goal, an essential element has been missing, says R. Lawrence Moss, M.D., FACS, FAAP, president and CEO of Nemours Children’s Health in Orlando, Florida. “The missing piece has been a way to test new ideas through trials grounded in evidenced-based data-driven research.” Moss and his team believe they’ve filled that void with the creation of the Ginsburg Institute for Health Equity at Nemours Children’s Health.
A new model
The Ginsburg Institute’s model—a first-of-its-kind initiative, according to Nemours Children’s—involves building a multi-disciplinary team of experts to spark new programs, engage in national policy discussions and provide intellectual and practical leadership through clinical care, research, education, and quality improvement initiatives.
Funded through a $25 million grant from local philanthropist Alan H. Ginsburg and the Ginsburg Family Foundation, the Ginsburg Institute aims to assemble pediatric specialists, behavioral economists, health services researchers, environmental health experts and data informaticists to:
- Identify and remove barriers to health in medically underserved areas.
- Collaborate to design and implement innovative projects to enhance population health.
- Prepare a health care and scientific workforce to deploy resources into diverse communities, both locally and around the world.
Results to have global reach
Among the long-term objectives of the Ginsburg Institute is to share its research and policy findings through local, national and international publications and forums to address the underlying social determinants of health—ultimately changing children’s health outcomes.
Nemours Children’s plans to replicate its research-to-practice model throughout the state and nation as well as bolster its existing programs, such as its community-based mobile medical units and telehealth platforms.
“The Ginsburg Institute will spur discovery and innovation to expand the health and well-being of children everywhere,” says Moss. “It marks a turning point in addressing the profound health disparities that have hurt our nation’s children for decades.”