The Medical Foundation dates to April 1986 when the Foundation for Physician Information and Practice Resources was formed. The original concept was "to form a not-for-profit foundation to monitor, analyze, and forecast changes occurring in the medical and health care delivery system in the U.S. which will affect medical practice, public policy, and patient care; to develop strategies, (provide) information and support services to assist the physician primarily engaged in private practice patient care to effectively cope and succeed within a rapidly changing medical and health care system. This foundation will be set up and managed 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, Inc. For a number of years, the Foundation served as a nonprofit conduit for educational and philanthropic efforts undertaken by the Medical Society. The Medical Society Executive Director also provided staff support to the Medical Foundation and served as Secretary-Treasurer.
Funding sources included some contributions from individual physicians and contributions from community health organizations to underwrite specific activities (such as health studies).
Through the 1990s, funding was provided for projects that included:
2001 -- The Mission Revisited
In 2001, Dr. Bowers and the Medical Foundation board revisited the mission of the Foundation. A Mission Subcommittee drafted the following mission statement for the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga, Inc., which was approved by the board.
The values under girding the mission include:
The Medical Foundation 2001 to the present
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. Rae Bond assisted the foundation on a volunteer basis in 2002 and was hired as the Foundation's first executive director in February 2003. 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 and 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.
Future opportunities that have been presented very recently include playing an integral role in a new initiative to address the growing crisis of low-birth weight babies born in Hamilton County and adding dental and/or mental health components to Project Access. 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.