The Finger Lakes region is one of only six areas across the country chosen to participate in ReThink Health Ventures, a health innovation project funded by the Fannie E. Rippel and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations. The two-year initiative aims to help successful community partnerships reach even higher in their efforts to improve care, increase access and lower medical costs.

“ReThink Health Ventures offers a wonderful opportunity for our region to benefit from national expertise in health ecosystem transformation and to learn how some of the most effective communities across the country are moving the needle on health,” said Becky Lyons, director of health and wellness for Wegmans Food Markets and chair of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s health care planning team. 

The Ventures initiative will bring together several of Rochester’s community tables and “ensure that we are pulling in the same direction in our efforts to improve health,” said Trilby de Jung, CEO of Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.

Ventures was launched by ReThink Health to demonstrate to change makers that an integrated, dynamic and high-functioning health ecosystem is possible. While thousands of communities across the country are making great progress in addressing health disparities, conventional thinking simply has not overcome systemic barriers and structural limitations.

The Finger Lakes region was selected to join the Ventures cohort because of the area’s advance thinking around these tough issues and its readiness to accelerate change. The Finger Lakes team is working to create a common vision and coordinated strategies across multiple initiatives aimed at improving community health. The group includes the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System, United Way of Greater Rochester, Rochester RHIO, Monroe County Department of Public Health, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s health care planning team.

“ReThink Health is excited to be working with these innovative partnerships to help them break from business as usual, to redesign and transform their health systems,” said Laura Landy, President and CEO of the Rippel Foundation. “It is these exemplars in communities across the country that will help demonstrate the power and necessity of looking at health as an ecosystem rather than as a collection of independent and siloed activities.”

Besides the Finger Lakes Region, the Ventures cohort includes Sonoma County, Calif.; Trenton, N.J.; Central Oregon; King County, Wash.; and Bernalillo County, N.M. The project is generously funded by the Robert Wood Johnson and Fannie E. Rippel Foundations.

Those regions participating in Ventures are home to some of the most advanced transformation efforts in the country, but substantive and meaningful change can elude even those most poised for success. The Ventures project intends to engage in a deep and different way with groups positioned to accelerate change at a regional level, to learn together and to explore key questions to determine what catalyzes action most effectively and what stalls progress. Ventures hopes to upend conventional thinking and to raise the ambitions and reduce the skepticism of communities and leaders, both locally and nationally, so that they aim for a higher standard.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require questioning norms that are ingrained in American culture: revisiting what health really means, how sectors and voices could contribute to it, and what kind of commitment it will take for a community and the people who live there to be healthy.

About ReThink Health and the Rippel Foundation

ReThink Health catalyzes changemakers to reimagine and transform health. We help leaders identify and overcome the barriers to reform at a regional level, and inspire change across the country. ReThink Health was initiated by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation, which was founded in 1953 to pursue innovative solutions to the complex problems confronting health and health care. The Rippel Foundation makes smart investments in the future, seeding innovation today to ensure good health for generations to come.

For additional information about ReThink Health, visit  For more information about the Rippel Foundation, visit

About the partner organizations:

  • Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s health care planning team brings together business leaders to find ways to lower health care costs and improve health for their employees.
  • Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) provides a robust electronic health information exchange serving medical providers and over 1.4 million patients in 13 counties.
  • United Way of Greater Rochester addresses critical challenges by connecting local people in need with evidence-based programs, strategic funding investments, community initiatives and volunteer support to direct resources and solve problems.
  • Finger Lakes Performing Provider System is a network of 19 hospitals, and more than 600 healthcare and community-based organizations working together to redesign Medicaid healthcare delivery in the region through New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program.
  • Finger Lakes Health System Agency brings together county health departments, hospitals, providers, insurers, businesses, residents and other partners to comprehensively address community health issues.
  • Monroe County Department of Public Health provides services to protect the public from disease and environmental hazards and community leadership to ensure improved health status of residents.