Sustainability in Primary Care - A Panel Discussion

On June 9 at the Non-Profit Center of Boston, CHMI co-hosted a two-part panel event on “Sustainability in Primary Care” alongside Care 2 Communities(C2C). The primary care panel was moderated by CHMI program director Donika Dimovska, who introduced panelists Allison Howard-Berry of C2C, Melissa Menke of Access Afya, and Fiona Walsh of Last Mile Health.

All three program representatives discussed their approaches as private providers of primary care in Haiti, Kenya, and Liberia. Panelists and audience members then engaged in a moderated discussion on the potential for long-term financial sustainability, whether through government partnership or revenue-based models. This conversation was further informed by the second part of the panel, where prominent figures in impact investing spoke to issues of raising capitol for socially conscious ventures. This panel was moderated by Anne Stetson, senior fellow, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Panelists included: Maggi Alexander, The Philanthropic Initiative's Center for Global Philanthropy; Tom Haslett, Senior Advisor, Central Square Foundation, Founding Board Member, Bantwana Initiative; Susan Musinsky, Executive Director, Social Innovation Forum; Ambassador (ret.) John Simon, Founding Partner, Total Impact Capital

The second discussion expanded beyond health, but drew on the first panel for direct examples of how organizations can locate funding for initial and sustained operations. John Simon of Total Impact Capital spoke to the importance of targetting impact and comercial investment as a vehicle for health models to scale. The emergence of emergency and pandemic funds, he said, was an indication that even large bilateral organizations are recognizing the importance of investment for small-scale health care providers. Other panelists, including Susan Musinsky and Maggi Alexander pointed out the changing nature of investment models. No longer are potential donors expected to "hand over the check" after an appeal. Donors are much more closely connected to the people their investments affect, and many more organizations are reliant on long-term relationships with investors rather than one-time donations.

Elizabeth Sheehan, founder and president of C2C, said "The voices from the field on the health panel were informative, authentic and honest, and the second panel helped us all think creatively about impact investing for the greater social good." Donika writes “Overall it was a great platform for us to learn more about innovations in primary care and health investing, share the success of the Primary Care Learning Collaborative and Handbook, and reflect on where we can go next.”