We are now into Month 2 of the transition of the MPTF primary care health centers and ancillary services to UCLA Health and everything seems to be working well. I hope everyone experienced a relatively seamless hand-off from MPTF to UCLA, which was the principal goal of the preceding 6 months of planning. So much credit goes out to the functional teams that plugged away for months to pull the change off without a glitch. I know our entire industry thanks these staffers for their excellent work!
For over 20 years now, many of you have primarily identified, or at least initially identified, MPTF with our health centers; they have truly been the portal into a relationship that later may have extended into social services, residency, volunteerism, and other contacts with our organization. As a result, the most frequently asked question I get lately from industry members is “So what is MPTF now that the health centers have gone over to UCLA?” Good question! I hope you’ll accept a partial answer for now.
The first part of the answer is that we are who we’ve always been – THE charity that serves the needs of the entertainment industry. Since we were founded in 1921, MPTF has been a relief organization fueled by the generosity of industry members who care to take care of their own when they fall on hard times. This is still at the core of our mission and continues to inspire our vision of the future.
We are clearly an organization in flux, a good flux I believe, and just as you are asking that question, so are we asking it of ourselves. A few months ago, we surveyed 5,500 industry members over the age of 50 to ask questions about future needs and got over 700 very informative responses. In 2011, we surveyed a larger group, over 150,000 industry members, with the same idea in mind and were able to extract important data from 10,000 responses. The responses to those surveys, along with a lot of internal discussion and an extensive program of meeting with outside thought leaders in the various fields we serve, are helping to shape the future of MPTF.
For sure, we know we will be a smaller organization, much more focused on serving the entertainment community through existing and yet-to-be developed wellness and social service programs. But the causes we are addressing will still be the same:
- Engage our industry members in keeping themselves healthy
- Provide a safety net of support for those in the industry who need a helping hand
- Reduce social isolation and increase social engagement for industry seniors
- Prove that creativity doesn’t end at 65
- Convene the entertainment community around challenging and relevant issues
The common thread running through these causes is “community,” complex, dynamic systems that can and frequently do take many forms. Where, how, and with whom we live and grow old is changing as the Baby Boomers cross the mythical line of 65 years old and, in many cases, look forward to 20+ years more of active life. Research tells us that the choices we make about living in a community – the how, the where, and the with whom — can influence our health and longevity, can affect social isolation and daily stress, can encourage physical activity and good diets, and can very much make a big difference in the quality indicators that count for us as happy human beings. A community can lift us up in time of need with safety net programs; a community can encourage healthy behaviors; a community can engage our mind and spirit; a community can give us reasons and provide ways for us to be useful when we’re questioning our value. And communities can take so many forms – real and virtual. (Our Healthcare Conversation and Deal With It: Today blogs are just two ways MPTF has created virtual spaces for our entertainment community. Our volunteer projects are real communities of industry members coming together to share a common experience.)
MPTF is committed to nurturing healthy, joyful communities – on and off our own campus – and in developing and providing programs in service of that goal. “Taking care of our own,” as I’ve said many times before, takes a village, and we know that part of the “art of community” is creating something in which you’ll all want to get involved – either because you need help or you want to help.
This is an exciting time to be leading MPTF. Our aims are no less lofty than they’ve ever been and the needs will only get larger as many active members in our industry today choose to start thinking about “third acts.” As always, we appreciate your support and kind words!