2018 Grantmakers In Health Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy

3 min
June 22, 2018

2018 GIH Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy

Chicago, Illinois | June 20 – 22, 2018

West Health is presenting at Grantmakers In Health’s 2018 Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy (#GIHac), the largest gathering of health funders in the country. This is the best place to meet up with the bright minds, seasoned experts, and innovative practitioners working in health philanthropy today.

CONFERENCE THEME: Navigating Currents of Change

How does your foundation or corporate giving program deal with change? Do you advance purposefully, adapting your theory of change as needed? Are you doing the same things you’ve always done and hoping you won’t run aground? Or—worst of all—are you adrift?

In this time of dynamic social change, every health funder must face staying relevant and effective. Like a choppy sea, the challenges come from multiple directions: demographic shifts that affect community dynamics; increasing levels of social inequality; rapidly changing public policies; a healthcare system in transition; and new change management tools and techniques—to name just a few.

The good news is that from small communities to the national arena, funders are developing successful strategies to stay abreast of change. The 2018 annual conference is a time to share these strategies, identify best practices, and discuss new priorities. Together, funders can find ways to move forward with conviction, providing the leadership that communities urgently need.

West Health is presenting at three sessions during the conference (all times listed are CT). Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter at #GIHac and @WestHealth.

Thursday, June 21

11:00 am 11:30 am A Challenge to Philanthropists: Investing in Integrated Models of Care for Enabling Successful Aging

Location: Lincolnshire (Marriott, 6th Floor)


In earlier generations, particularly before World War II, older citizens were more integrated into extended families and communities. As they aged, their medical and social needs were provided for by families, religious and social charities, and—with the advent of Medicare and Medicaid—by federal and state agencies. But a combination of political, economic, and social forces has increasingly cut older adults, particularly those living below the poverty line, off from the social and medical services they need and deserve. This session is a call to action for funders across the country to support what older adults living in our communities so desperately need: investments in social and medical integrated models of care that reconnect them to services that have become largely inaccessible to them.


Shelley Lyford, President and CEO, West Health

Paul Downey, CEO, Serving Seniors


3:30 pm 4:30 pm Addressing the Many Faces of Food Insecurity

Location: Chicago AB (Marriott, 5th Floor)


Food insecurity is an important social determinant of health that communities and providers are increasingly seeking to address as part of population health strategies. This session will explore many of the opportunities and challenges to working with populations particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, such as immigrants and older adults. Participants will learn about some of the latest innovative solutions being driven by health funders and their partners, including enhancing the technological, administrative, and outreach infrastructure of the food safety net; empowering grassroots community efforts; and developing care models that integrate nutrition services into the broader healthcare system.

– Brenda Schmitthenner, MPA, Program Officer, Gary and Mary West Foundation
– Christina Ostmeyer
– Caitlin Docker


Friday, June 22

8:00 am 9:15 am Oral Health Funder Network Breakfast

Location: Chicago FG (Marriott, 5th Floor)

The Oral Health Funder Network Breakfast will address issues of oral health access for older adults. Panelists will discuss philanthropic initiatives to understand the unique oral health needs of older adults, advocate for comprehensive dental benefits for this population through Medicaid and Medicare, promote colocation of dental and health services, address workforce issues, and organize policy efforts among funders. Attendees will discuss opportunities and challenges oral health funders face in the evolution of this topic.

– Jeffrey Kim
– William Scanlon
– Michael Monopoli


A full agenda, roster of speakers, session locations, details, and additional materials can be found by visiting the GIH App and mobile website.

Shelley Lyford
CEO, Chair & Trustee, Gary and Mary West Foundation
CEO & Chair, West Health Institute