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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 6, 2006

Researchers To Study Governance Of Nonprofit Health Care Systems

Researchers in the University of Iowa College of Public Health have been awarded a two-year, $237,000 grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to study selected aspects of governance in a set of nonprofit, community-based health care systems.

"Nationally, there's a growing demand for more accountability, greater transparency and better performance by the boards that govern organizations," said Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D., UI professor of health management and policy and the study's project director. "This study will provide helpful information to nonprofit health care organizations, the health care field, and the nonprofit sector in ongoing efforts to improve governance."

Nonprofit, community-based health care systems are organizations that sponsor, control and operate two or more general hospitals and other health care programs and services in a single geographic area through an integrated governance and management structure.

The researchers will collect data through on-site interviews with leaders from approximately 10 well-established community-based health care systems located in diverse states. They will examine the structures, selected governance processes and cultures of the systems' governing boards and compare them to contemporary standards of excellence. The investigators will also identify areas where the governance of these systems could be improved, as well as distinctive best practices that could serve as models for other health care organizations in the United States.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." To achieve the greatest impact, the foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development.

Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

For further information, please visit the Kellogg Foundation's Web site at The site offers: in-depth information about the foundation's programming interests; information on the foundation's grant application process; a database of current grant recipients; and access to publications which report on foundation-funded projects.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,

PHOTO: A Web-quality photo of Dr. Lawrence Prybil is available at

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