Jewish Healthcare Foundation Approves $728,000 in Grants to Expand Women’s Health Network, Support HIV/AIDS Work

Updated on July 17, 2018

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) approved $728,000 in grants, including a new $500,000 grant to support programming, staff, and maternal and child health-focused pilot projects for its new women’s health-focused network (the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global) and a $160,000 grant renewal to support JHF’s fiscal and quality improvement work for HIV/AIDS service providers.

Women’s Health Activist Movement Global

Since its establishment in 1990, JHF has played an advocacy and community convening role to advance women’s health on a number of fronts, including by leading campaigns to detect and prevent breast cancer (The Breast Test), improve women’s heart health (Working Hearts®), and prevent cancer through HPV vaccination.

Building on this legacy, JHF launched the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) in late 2016. WHAMglobal forms networks of advocates and experts in women’s health and wellness to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes, equity, and leadership. WHAMglobal aims to inspire regional, national, and international advocacy and action to advance women’s health, safety and quality, women’s position within the health workforce, and pay equity. WHAMGlobal is supported by JHF and the Heinz Family Foundation, and was co-founded by JHF President/CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, and Joanne Conroy, MD, President/CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.

Through a new three-year, $500,000 grant from JHF, WHAMglobal will support a project director/women’s health specialist; develop interagency curriculum, training programs, and career tracks; and provide mini-grants to implement a community health worker program in local neighborhoods to improve maternal health outcomes. 

“One of WHAMglobal’s primary goals is to identify and champion ‘Big Ideas’—ideas that address pressing women’s health issues with creativity, and that unite whole communities around a shared goal,” Dr. Feinstein says. “In Pittsburgh, we held a Big Idea Challenge during the summer that involved 20 non-profits pitching their plans to improve women’s health. The community spoke, and WHAMglobal is responding by building a coalition to improve maternal health education, advocacy, and outcomes in western Pennsylvania. We will network with women’s health leaders from around the U.S. and globe, including the Women of Impact and the International Women’s Forum, to learn from one another and address the issue of maternal mortality.”

The winner of the WHAMglobal Big Idea Challenge in Pittsburgh was the Latino Community Center, which developed a plan to improve the maternal health of Pittsburgh’s growing Latin American community. Beginning in late 2017, the Latino Community Center will support mothers in the Latino community through prenatal and perinatal classes, develop culturally-competent multimedia materials that help women navigate the health system, promote and support breastfeeding, identify ways to reduce stress, and establish postpartum support groups. The classes also train attendees to act as community liaisons by supporting other pregnant women and new mothers and helping them connect to important services.   

WHAMglobal will partner with the Latino Community Center to promote and learn from their initiative and identify ways to support liaisons through the implementation of a community health worker (CHW) model. CHW models offer important training, certification, reimbursement of services, and a respected role as an important member of the care team. CHWs help navigate complex systems of care, can help with translation if needed, and offer support during a critical time in a woman’s life. WHAMglobal plans to expand the CHW model to other immigrant and refugee communities in the Pittsburgh region. WHAMglobal will develop a guide with best practices on using CHWs to improve maternal and child health, and will offer up to five mini-grants to other community partners who serve immigrant and refugee populations to implement their own CHW programs.

“By working with trusted organizations, we have an excellent opportunity to be a leader in developing and sustaining community health worker models,” says Kate Dickerson, MSc, WHAMglobal’s Project Director and Women’s Health Specialist. “We’re also lucky to have cutting-edge health systems in our backyard and by supporting and integrating CHWs into communities, we can not only work to address serious health barriers but simultaneously create employment opportunities for people interested in supporting and improving maternal health.”

To further build the network and provide strategic direction, WHAMglobal will develop local, national, and international advisory committees with clinical, cultural, and policy skills related to women’s health and community health worker model development. WHAMglobal will also hold speakers’ series and networking events with women’s health leaders.


JHF has been the HIV/AIDS fiscal agent for southwestern Pennsylvania for 20 years. During this time, the Foundation has reached beyond the traditional fiscal agent role to provide quality improvement training, learning networks, community support and convening, and stewardship to HIV/AIDS service providers and other stakeholders.

Over time, due mostly to flat state funding and the Foundation’s desire to assure appropriate staffing of the project, the oversight required to properly manage contract compliance matters has resulted in a gap between the amount which the state funds and JHF’s costs. To continue providing the highest level of programming and support to the HIV/AIDS community, JHF has provided supplemental funds to these initiatives since 2015. To fill a gap in funding until state contract renegotiations take place in 2018, JHF will provide a $160,000 grant to support its HIV/AIDS-related programming.

Allegheny Conference on Community Development

JHF has been represented on the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD), a non-profit comprised of regional leaders committed to improving the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania, since Dr. Feinstein became the first woman to sit on its Board and Executive Committee in 1997. During her tenure, the ACCD has prioritized increasing healthcare quality and access, cultivating the healthcare workforce, and developing the infrastructure necessary to turn world-class research into products and services that improve lives and fuel the economy.

Along with other public, private, and philanthropic groups, JHF has provided a fair share contribution to the ACCD’s budget since 2003. With this $68,000 grant, the Foundation continues to support health improvement efforts in western Pennsylvania under new ACCD leadership. Health Careers Futures, a supporting organization of JHF, will collaborate with the ACCD, Partner4Work, and other organizations to align the regional healthcare workforce’s size and skills with expected demand, and develop community-wide strategies to address the rising cost of care.

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