In 2014, the Kansas Health Foundation brought together a group of knowledgeable stakeholders from a multitude of specialties to focus on reducing tobacco use specifically among Kansans with mental illness. Over 15 months, the group and the foundation worked to learn deeply about the issue and inform action that could be taken on individual, organizational, and systemic levels.
The wealth of knowledge and experience brought by each participant to the discussion and learning about this complex issue, together from a range of perspectives, resulted in a more productive dialogue. The model proved very effective, as evidenced by the group’s success in achieving a number of policy, system, and environmental changes — including expanding cessation benefits available under Medicaid in Kansas — and could be replicated by any foundation.
The foundation continues to work collaboratively on this issue and discover more about what is effective in reducing tobacco use. What it learned alongside its community partners has powerfully informed the foundation’s approach to this work and has resulted in meaningful change, at multiple levels, in the behavioral health system.
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Long, N., Richter, K. P., Avers, J. E., & Cagan, R. (2019). Better Together: Engaging Stakeholders in Learning and Leadership to Guide Foundation Resources Toward Adaptive Systems Change. The Foundation Review, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.9707/1944-5660.1465