About the Foundation
The Medical Foundation was formed in April 1986 to create a not-for-profit foundation to monitor, analyze, and forecast changes occurring in the medical and health care delivery system in the U.S. and to serve as a research and development organization. In May 1993, the foundation charter was amended and the name was officially changed to the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga and the Foundation because the nonprofit conduit for educational and philanthropic efforts undertaken by the Medical Society.
In 2001, Founding President Dr. Robert Bowers and the Medical Foundation board revisited the mission of the Foundation to say: The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga exists to support our community through health services research, promotion of healthy lifestyles, education, and cooperation with other charitable entities.The values undergirding the mission include:
- The desire to improve the "medical quality of life" in our community;
- The desire for the Foundation to be community-oriented, not just focused on physicians and the medical profession;
- The desire that the Foundation should also serve the needs of the medical profession;
- The desire/priority that the Foundation support education and enhancement of community awareness of healthy lifestyles and choices;
- The desire that the Foundation become a conduit for physician charitable giving.
The Medical Foundation's scope of activities -- a program plan -- would encompass the following areas:
- Issues Education (President's Forum; contracts reviews; Adult and Youth Behavior Risk Surveys).
- Professional Development (health services research; programs).
- Community Development (quality of life in the community/collaboration with other community entities: Health House; STARS; Boys' Club; Girls, Inc.; Children's Hospital; St. Jude's Children's Hospital; Orange Grove; Bethel Bible Village).
In 2002, the Medical Foundation and Medical Society began research and development on a bold new program to provide a coordinated charity care network in Hamilton County. In April 2004, Project Access enrolled its first patient.
While Project Access is the best known program, the Medical Foundation and Medical Society work collaboratively on many other community health initiatives. They include:
- Coordinating periodic Youth and Adult Behavior Risk Surveys in conjunction with the Regional Health Council. This research is an important part in planning for community health and social service initatives.
- Initiated the Chattanooga Coalition Against Tobacco, a community-wide program that began in 1996 and continuing today as SmokeFree Chattanooga.
- Played key leadership roles in the countywide Step ONE (Optimize with Nutrition and Exercise), Regional Health Council community health planning body, and other initiatives.
- Serving as one of the key partners in the annual Regional Science and EngineeringFair to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in science and engineering.
- Sponsoring periodic community forums on a wide range of important health issues.
The largest new initiative developed through the Medical Foundation is Project Access, a voluntary program to increase and coordinate care to low-income uninsured residents of Hamilton County. A Project Access organizing committee was formed in 2002 and work began to form a physician-hospital coalition to develop the project and secure start-up funding. In September 2003, the Medical Foundation was awarded a major three-year federal grant for Project Access to fund start-up costs, including developing information systems, evaluation tools, and other program development activities.
Future Challenges & Opportunities
The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga is in a strategic position to have a positive impact on the health of the community and the image of the medical profession. Through Project Access, a broad-based health coalition has been created that may be positioned to address additional community health needs and challenges. New relationships are being established and the Medical Society and Medical Foundation are seen as highly effective "can do" organizations. Hamilton County has enormous health-related needs that could be addressed through the work of the Foundation.The Medical Foundation of Chattanooga is committed to work with the Medical Society to have a transformative impact on the health of our community, and in the process raise public awareness of the multi-faceted roles and contributions of our physicians.