Addressing the City’s Biggest Public Health Challenges

Good health is a necessary condition for success in life and is integrally linked to the ability of children and adults to thrive in school and in the workplace. Unfortunately, Indianapolis ranks at or near the bottom of almost every measure of public health and healthy living, including infant and maternal mortality, mental health, and death by overdose and cancer. Two primary drivers of Indianapolis’ poor public health outcomes are tobacco use and misuse of other substances. Substance use disorder and addiction to tobacco are often intertwined with systemic factors such as poverty, poor mental health, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

To address these challenges, the Foundation has established two goals in this focus area:

  • Reduce the rate of tobacco use and eliminate youth nicotine use.
  • Prevent and address substance use disorder.

Learn more about our strategies below, or contact us for more information.

We have identified the following strategies to support our goal to reduce the rate of tobacco use and eliminate youth nicotine use:

  • Raise awareness of evidence-based policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use and eliminate youth nicotine use.
  • Expand access to evidence-based tobacco prevention programs and cessation treatments and innovative programs that address youth nicotine use.
  • Strengthen the infrastructure for tobacco control and youth nicotine advocacy.

When implementing these strategies, special consideration will be given to initiatives that address infant and maternal mortality, and initiatives that address racial and socioeconomic disparities.

We have identified the following strategies to support our goal to prevent and address substance use disorder (SUD):

  • Disseminate information about gaps in the continuum of care and about evidence-based policies related to prevention, treatment, harm reduction, lifelong recovery supports and contributing systemic factors.
  • Support advocacy efforts focused on improving access to prevention, treatment, harm reduction and supports for lifelong recovery and on addressing the systemic factors that contribute to SUD.
  • Support new, and expand existing, efforts to meet the behavioral health and addiction workforce needs in Marion County, with an emphasis on increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of this workforce.
  • Identify and support proven prevention and early intervention efforts for youth and families.
  • Identify and support proven and promising programs and initiatives that aim to systematically improve access to prevention, treatment, harm reduction and lifelong recovery supports, especially for underserved populations.

When implementing these strategies, special consideration will be given to initiatives that address infant and maternal mortality, and initiatives that address racial and socioeconomic disparities.