A nation's commitment to equal access to healthcare is a reflection of its commitment to equal opportunity for all. Wealth and income are the greatest determinants of health, which is also affected by the social, psychological, spiritual, and environmental factors that have an impact on individuals, families, and communities. Absent public and private policies that assure access to basic building blocks necessary to live a healthy life, the chasm between the health and wellbeing of society's most wealthy and more economically vulnerable constituencies widens. Although health factors that are inherited and exacerbated by low- to moderate-socioeconomic status cannot be completely undone by access to quality healthcare and a healthy environment, increased access can ameliorate the physical and psychological consequences of social and economic injustice.
The Foundation's commitment is to improve people's health and wellbeing, especially those who confront barriers due to low- to moderate-socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and gender. We define health broadly and include within our expanded view the link between physical health and the economic, social, environmental and psychological factors that affect individuals, families, and communities. Special attention will be given to efforts that address the health disparities that exist between the rich and the poor, build bridges between the common concerns of disparate constituencies, and recognize the strategic importance of employing a variety of approaches (coalition building, research, litigation, to name a few) to produce institutional change. Priority attention will be given to efforts that are national in scope and efforts that have the potential of having a multi-state or statewide impact and can be replicated.