The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust

Report of the Chairman and Executive Director

Leonard Parker and Dorothy Rider Pool were constant and caring citizens of their adopted home, the Lehigh Valley. They devoted time and treasure to the arts, education, and health during Dorothy’s life and, upon her passing, Leonard dedicated the last years of his life to the creation of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). He was always concerned about the wellbeing of his Air Products employees, their families, and the residents of his community. During Dorothy’s illness, he sought treatment for her in New York and Philadelphia. This experience caused him to worry about access to health care for others in his home region. Leonard’s drive, energy, and passion led him to the conclusion that the region needed a “superior regional hospital” to provide “superior health care.” Upon his death, he provided for the creation of The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. Since 1976, the Pool Trustees have been responsible for the stewardship of approximately $145 million dollars of investments “to or for the benefit” of LVHN. Today the Trust assets total approximately $85 million.

As Mr. Pool envisioned, LVHN is a “superior regional hospital,” and The Pool Trust has been part of that journey. The 40-year (and counting) compendium of Pool-funded work includes the creation of one of the first hospice programs in the U.S., one of the best trauma programs in the country, and excellent poison and burn care programs. The Trust enabled a sophisticated emergency medicine system, fluoridation of the regional water system, and establishment of the first Federally Qualified Health Center in eastern Pennsylvania. Numerous programs for the elderly, young, and those most significantly at risk of poor health have been successfully implemented over the decades. Pool Trust support for two legs of the clinical stool – research and education – have strengthened LVHN’s clinical services.

We reflect on the achievements to date while we enthusiastically consider advancement of Mr. Pool’s legacy going forward. Toward that end, we have increased our attention to the many factors that influence health and the challenges faced by LVHN in fulfillment of its mission. These challenges are widely known and documented as the social determinants of health. Broadly stated, they describe that social and environmental conditions (including educational attainment and income) account for 40 percent of a person’s health; the physical environment (including housing) accounts for 10 percent; and clinical services (hospitals and doctors) account for approximately 20 percent of an individual’s health. That leaves 30 percent of health that can be attributed to individual behavior and the choices people make. 1 We move ahead considering how The Trust can support and enable LVHN to further advance the health of our community with these social determinants in mind.

Activities in 2017 uphold this statement. In this year, The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust was honored to host notable visitors to the Lehigh Valley to facilitate rich conversations and provide opportunities for learning. These visits attest to the appreciation and recognition of LVHN and Pool Trust, particularly with regard to our transformative view of health.

In October of 2017, the Pool Trust joined with LVHN to bring leadership from the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation to the Lehigh Valley to learn about Rippel’s national initiative, FORESIGHT, a cross-sector, cross-regional movement to reshape health and healthcare. Laura Landy, MBA, Rippel President and CEO, along with her team shared insight into their work. They in turn were introduced to the renaissance of the Lehigh Valley, strategies of transformation within LVHN, and activities within the Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative.

In December, a similar meeting saw the arrival of Richard E. Besser, MD, Chief Executive Officer; Don Schwarz MD, MPH, Vice President, Program; and James S. Marks, MD MPH, Executive Vice President; from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Allentown leaders who have completed The Rider-Pool Foundation Collective Impact Fellowship joined Pool Trust and LVHN Board members and senior management of LVHN in the day-long meeting. Activities included a walking tour of center city Allentown, discussions of rapid prototyping and capacity building, information from Robert Wood Johnson’s framework for a national health mission, and an introduction to the Purpose Built Community model out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Moving into January of 2018, the Tamarack Institute and Ontario Trillium Foundation joined the Pool Trust and the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley in an exchange of ideas around Collective Impact as one of the means to build stronger, healthier communities. The two-day visit allowed more than 200 people in our region to interact with Sylvia Cheuy, Consulting Director of Collective Impact, Tamarack Learning Centre, and Jen Roynon, Director of Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization with the Trillium Foundation. One group participated in a human-centered design workshop, and others gathered for a visit to the Penn State Lehigh Valley innovation center. This interaction spurred an ongoing relationship with Tamarack and Trillium that continues to gain momentum and national activity.

The Pool Trust has learned a great deal through grants distributed since 1976. We are pleased with LVHN’s wise use of these resources and the successes large and small that have led the learning process and point to the future. We greatly value and are committed to our strong partnership with the leadership at LVHN and our shared passion to improve the health of the Lehigh Valley. We remain grounded in theory, true to a tradition of seeking proper structure, design, intervention, and measures that lead to better outcomes in our community’s health.

Offering outtakes of 2017 in the following report, we see evidence that The Pool Trust is continuing to use funds in strategic ways to leverage, convene, and facilitate. That strategic direction was left, along with a culture of drive, passion, innovation, and tenacity, through the legacy of Leonard Parker Pool.

2019 Pennsylvania Report.

John P. Jones III

Edward F. Meehan
Executive Director