Reducing Tobacco
Use in Missouri

In 2002, Missouri ranked 3rd for prevalence of tobacco in the U.S.

Two-thirds of our youth had used tobacco before graduating high school, and only two communities in our state had smoke-free laws.

Missouri Foundation for Health took the long view.

Over nine years, Missouri Foundation for Health pursued a multifaceted approach to reducing tobacco use in our region, especially among young people. We worked with partners and leaders to educate Missourians about the health risks of smoking, increase the accessibility of smoking cessation programs, and collaborated with local agencies on smoke-free laws.

Reduced smoking helps us all breathe easier.

By 2012, Missouri had fallen from 3rd to 11th in the nation in tobacco use. More people had quit smoking and fewer young people had started. Twenty-five communities had smoke-free policies, covering more than 40% of the state's population.

Go big, go long.

Improving lifestyle health behaviors requires sustained focus and investment and an approach that incorporates partners, collaboration, policy research, and education.

Responding to Joplin's
Needs in the Aftermath

The catastrophic Joplin tornado of 2011 devastated a community.

The tornado killed 161 people, injured 1,150 others, destroyed 7,500 homes and 2,000 buildings and left thousands of people facing lasting trauma.

Missouri Foundation for Health responded to a community-identified need and solution.

In response to persistent mental health challenges in Joplin a year or more after the tornado, the Foundation partnered with Ozark Center to develop a plan for longer-term mental health services for residents. The project included filling community-identified needs for training, increased professional staffing, and teen-oriented programs.

More people are feeling better in Joplin.

Approximately 750 people received training in trauma-informed care, including mental health professionals, social service agency staff, and Head Start workers. Hundreds of people received services, including high school students, through a creative texting-based system called "TalkAboutIt."

Know and respond to communities.

Many times, communities know what their health needs are and the best way to address them. When the Foundation develops strong community relationships and knowledge, we are a powerful partner.


Medicaid is increasingly complex and changing.

Medicaid is perhaps the most important driver of the health of the uninsured and underserved in our region. Citizens and elected officials need in-depth, objective information.

The Foundation brings clarity to policy makers and citizens.

The Foundation regularly develops and provides in-depth, objective information to policy makers and consumers to inform policy discussions and help consumers understand what Medicaid means to them.

Better information, better decisions.

Discussions and uses of Medicaid are enhanced because the Foundation provides clear, objective information to everyone.

Policy is critical.

Policy work is critical to improving health.

We've learned what works:

Go Big, Go Long

Know and Respond to Communities

Policy is Critical

Applying these lessons to today's health challenges, our Board set our strategy for the next several years. Building on what we've learned, we're on a clear path to lasting improvements in the health of the uninsured and underserved in our region.

Our Strategy


Go Big, Go Long

Missouri Foundation for Health will create visible and measurable improvements in Missouri through 5–10 year financial and staff investments on four key health issues facing our state.


The Issue

Every year in Missouri approximately 600 infants die in the first year of life; 33% are in the Bootheel and St. Louis regions.

Read more about Missouri Foundation for Health's targeted work in the area of infant mortality.

Our Work

The Foundation will work with partners and communities to decrease the infant mortality rate by 15% in the Bootheel and St. Louis over the next 5–7 years.

Read more about Missouri Foundation for Health's targeted work in the area of infant mortality.

The Issue

31% of Missouri's children aged 10–17 are overweight or obese.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of Obesity.

Our Work

The Foundation will partner with schools and their communities to increase access to healthy food and physical activity, with the goal of reducing childhood obesity by 5% over the next 5–7 years.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of Obesity.

The Issue

More than 300,000 uninsured Missourians are eligible for subsidized health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of health coverage.

Our Work

The Foundation will coordinate a coalition of partners to increase awareness and facilitate enrollment, with the goal of decreasing Missouri's uninsured rate to less than 5% by 2018.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of health coverage.

The Issue

Almost 800,000 low-income adults in Missouri are not covered for dental care. Poor oral health correlates with low birth weight, premature birth, diabetes, heart and lung diseases, and stroke.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of oral health.

Our Work

The Foundation will work with key groups to increase the number of places and providers offering oral health services, and expand insurance coverage.

Read more about the Foundation's targeted work in the area of oral health.

Partnerships for
healthy infants

Good Food
Good Fun

Missouri's Future

Overall Health


Know and Respond to Communities

Missouri Foundation for Health will support communities and organizations in making a measurable impact on priority health needs of the uninsured and underserved.


Mini Grants

Up to $25,000 to fund one-time activities to small organizations that typically do not seek the Foundation's funding.

Read about how the community benefited from the Foundation's response to St. Louis Area Foodbank's need.

Special Projects

One-time efforts to support community-identified health needs and solutions within the Foundation's region.

Learn More About how our Responsive Portfolio Works.

Collaborative Program

Ongoing opportunities working with other funders to increase our impact.

Learn More About How Our Responsive Portfolio Works.



Policy is Critical

The Health Policy portfolio complements the Foundation's Targeted and Responsive work by addressing health issues from a systemic perspective. Health Policy supports education, advocacy, and analysis on issues significant to the health of uninsured and underserved Missourians.


Research and Education

Ensuring that Missourians have access to information that enables informed health decisions.

Read more about the foundation's work to fight health disparities with our health equity series of reports.

Building the Field of Health Advocates

Workshops and educational activities will continue to help groups and individuals become more effective advocates.

learn more about our advocacy training and technical assistance.

Community and Government Engagement

The foundation will continue to grow a network of stakeholders to inform and support policies that improve health.

Discover our cover missouri coalition.

Credible Source of Health Policy Information and Data

The Foundation will continue to be a neutral, trusted source of health policy information and analysis.

View our collection of nonpartisan info and data on the issues being address by policymakers in Missouri.

Building Skills
Sharing Tools

Helping Missourians Make
Informed Health Decisions

How will we know we've made a difference?

How will we know we've made a difference?

Thousands of infants will get a better chance at a healthy life.

More Missourians with health coverage will improve the overall health of our state.

Oral health care will be available to many more Missourians, especially in rural areas.

Community-identified health needs and solutions will be funded and supported.

Childhood obesity will decline for the first time, with schools leading the way.

So, what does this mean for you?

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