Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described her hope that foundations and HHS will work closely together. She noted that the most important agenda item for President Obama was to reform healthcare and urged foundations to participate in this debate.
Dr. Richard Besser, the interm head of the CDC, briefed the Council on the status of H1N1 flu virus. He indicated that there have been over 1000 cases in 44 states and one death. The good news is that this strain of the virus does not seem to be as deadly as first believed. He stated that philanthropy has played an important role in early preparedness. He noted the ongoing work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was especially candid about the challenge of asking people to stay home when they are sick and when they have no healthcare benefits. How can foundations help communities encourage people to stay home when they are ill if it will jeopardize their income and possibly their job status?
Emmett Carson is president of The Silicon Valley Community Foundation.