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FORESIGHT: Shaping a better future, together

What is the future of health? We consider ourselves to be cutting-edge health philanthropists and, honestly, we’re not sure. What we do know is that while we and others are constantly talking about how to secure a better future, our system for health is spiraling out of control. Analysts project runaway health care costs, inadequate health outcomes, and persistent health disparities for decades to come. Finding a way out of this has been a scary and chaotic endeavor, likely because we’ve all been focused on solving the problems of a system that no longer serves us well rather than challenging ourselves to articulate the kind of system we really need. Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to organize an initiative that can produce a clear vision—a shared idea of a radically equitable future where all people are thriving—and a solid understanding of what it would take to establish it. We need a solid start at breaking the country from our entrenched reliance on short-sighted norms and practices.

Enter FORESIGHT, a three-year project that builds a shared understanding of our interconnected past, present, and future as the basis for equitably envisioning and bringing about a new future of health and well-being in the United States. In this future, the health and well-being of all Americans is valued and well supported. FORESIGHT sets this future in motion by creating inventive, inclusive spaces for Americans to share historical experiences alongside their aspirations as they engage in the work of health transformation. The initiative was established by philanthropic partners who, facing the reality that our current system has not (and cannot) put our nation on a trajectory toward a healthier future, see an urgent need to collectively explore alternatives.

FORESIGHT is designed to provide a unique opportunity for all of us who are working to advance regional health to step outside our current thinking and behaviors and open new vantage points for ourselves.Together, we’ll use powerful and proven futures planning techniques, combined with the voices and insights of regional residents, to build a shared body of knowledge about how demographic, technological, social, and environmental influences have already shaped, and have the potential to shape, the future of health in dramatic ways. Then, we’ll use that shared knowledge to determine the future we aspire to achieve. Later, we’ll develop and take the steps we need for regions to effectively transition to a new system for health and well-being—a system that is designed to bring about the new future we envision.

Most importantly, we’ll take this on in partnership with one another—as national and regional leaders (including residents) influencing diverse people and organizations in many regions and sectors. We will work together from our own places of knowledge and influence, each contributing to the process and taking responsibility for the new system’s long-term success.

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