b'HEALTH FROM FUNDING INNOVATIONTHE INSIDE OUTA Pittsburgh Foundation fundThe Pittsburgh Foundation, which has managed the supported the director of thefund and contributed to it since its beginning in 2014. Allegheny County Health DepartmentIn the years since, the fund has become a national in achieving big internal reforms.modeladopted by the Robert Wood Johnson Founda-Now, as she leaves for a federal post,tion, for examplefor innovative funding of public health a nationally respected departmentinitiatives that tax dollars alone could never support. awaits her successor.While operating quietly in the background, it has made a significant impact on public health programming and infrastructure. In just the past year alone, the fund FOR YEARS, EVIDENCE MOUNTEDthat showed a wideninghas ramped up the Health Departments response to the gap between white and African American health out- opioid crisis, and supported a study of the breadth and comes in Allegheny County. The Health Departmentseverity of asthma among children and an investigation responded last year with a plan to narrow it and won aof the threat of lead in drinking water. It has enabled $735,000 Centers for Disease Control grant. Its the typestaff to search mountains of health data and share of funding the department wouldnt have sought fiveimportant findings with the public. Offering promise years earlier for lack of the infrastructure to pull it off.for the departments future effectiveness is the Plan We wouldnt have been competitive, says Dr. Karenfor a Healthy Allegheny, a comprehensive strategy for Hacker, who had led the department since 2013.improving health throughout the regions most densely Behind that profound change is the little-knownpopulated county. Public Health Improvement Fund, a grant-makingIve often called it my R&D fund, says Dr. Hacker, account averaging $340,000 each year in pooledwho left the department this summer to become contributions by a group of foundations and healthdirector of the CDCs National Center for Chronic care systems. The single purpose: Enable the HealthDisease Prevention and Health Promotion. It allowed Department to improve itself so it can be moreus to take steps we wouldnt have been able to take effective in improving the health of the countys 1.2under our own budget. In government, department million residents. Thats been a long-standing goal ofallocations are challenging at best. There are ideas 30'