Boston Fed advisory council member advocates community representation, power of collective impact
Population health expert Yvonne Goldsberry is another voice for New Hampshire residents at the Fed
Yvonne Goldsberry aspires to "achieve the honorable." It's a motto she remembers from high school, and it informs her approach to life and her now decades-long work in public health and hospital administration.
Today, she’s president of New Hampshire’s largest health foundation, the Endowment for Health. Under her leadership, the foundation strives to ensure that all state residents, especially those who are underserved, have a voice in creating a healthy state where everyone can reach their full potential.
Now, Goldsberry is taking that people-first/community-led perspective to a new role as a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Community Development Advisory Council member. CDAC members share insights with Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren and the Bank's community development staff. That feedback informs policy, research, analysis, and initiatives that can improve people's lives, which aligns with her work, Goldsberry said.
So far, the experience has been meaningful for Goldsberry.
She was immediately able to contribute to the conversations, she said, especially when they "focused on health, and the determinants or drivers of health."
As she preps for future meetings, she plans to include community partner voices from New Hampshire.
Goldsberry said that even though the states represented on the council each have "unique policy environments, it is helpful to hear how similar the local circumstances are, and the potential solutions or innovations that are being piloted in other areas."
Goldsberry aims to make sure N.H. residents stay on the Fed's "radar"
Goldsberry first learned about the council years ago when a former Fed employee mentioned it while telling her about the Boston Fed's Working Cities Challenge community development initiative. Goldsberry said she was excited when she heard she'd been recommended to join the CDAC this year.
Goldsberry said the top thing on her mind these days is how New Hampshire's economy and its most impacted populations will rebound post-COVID-19.
Goldsberry said being on the council gives her a chance to keep her state's residents on the Fed's radar. Carmen Panacopoulos, a senior business strategy manager in community development at the Boston Fed, agrees that's critical.
"Bringing voices like Yvonne's to the council gives us new perspectives and helps us better address New England's development needs," she said. "And she's such an important voice in New Hampshire. It's another way we make sure the concerns of residents there are heard."
Michele Holt-Shannon, co-founder of the University of New Hampshire's civic engagement initiative New Hampshire Listens, met Goldsberry when Goldsberry joined the Endowment for Health. The two had a standing lunch, pre-pandemic, and Holt-Shannon said Goldsberry is a bold visionary whom she leans on for advice.
Goldsberry is a population health expert, someone who focuses on the health of groups of people, rather than individuals. That comprehensive perspective and her work on policy that impacts large groups make her a good fit for a regional council like the CDAC, Holt-Shannon said.
She added that the power of Goldsberry's approach is seen in her work to usher the Endowment for Health beyond its focus on equity in health and health care. Now, it concentrates more on confronting the racial barriers patients face – and the inequities that result.
The Endowment for Health "has gotten clearer about the racial and socio-economic equity work they do," Holt-Shannon said.
The approach? Unite people for broader impact
Gail Garceau, president of the New Hampshire Children's Health Foundation, met Goldsberry when her foundation started working with Goldsberry on a collaborative effort to fund advocacy for the state.
Garceau said Goldsberry is "a strategic thinker and a problem solver. And for me to have the privilege of working with somebody like that is a gift."
Goldsberry said her approach has long been to unite people and groups to increase their influence, which fits with the CDAC's approach of bringing leaders across industries and sectors together to work for change. Recently, for instance, the Endowment for Health shifted its strategy away from services and began joining with others to invest in research, which can be broadly impactful.
"We realize that our dollars are small in the sea of health care dollars," Goldsberry said. "So, we're not going to fix health issues and complex social issues in New Hampshire by ourselves."
Goldsberry said every person has some level of power and influence, but it's impossible to create a movement if everyone keeps acting on their own. To really make a difference, Goldsberry said, "You have to team up with others."