2003 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Award Recipient

The Center for Healthy Communities

Represented at the CCPH conference by the following individuals (listed alphabetically):

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) began in 1994 as a community academic partnership dedicated to improving access to and utilization of health care services for the underserved, and improving health professions education. Located in Dayton, Ohio, CHC brings together allied health, medical, nursing, social work and professional psychology higher education training programs with public education, health and housing departments, social services and faith based organizations, local and state government, hospitals and HMOs to better integrate the public health safety net, to better coordinate and utilize existing resources, and to develop additional services as needed.

History of a Regional Effort

Center for Healthy Communities Annual Meeting

The genesis of the Center for Healthy Communities occurred in July of 1991, when Wright State University (WSU), Sinclair Community College (SCC), the City of Dayton (Ohio), and local health and human service organizations and community members joined together to create Partners for Community Health Development (PCHD) with the goal of acting as a force for change in health professions education and health care delivery. In May of 1994 the Boards of Trustees at WSU and SCC established the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) to continue and expand the work of the original Partners for Community Health Development, and the original Community Governing Board voted to become the Community Advisory Board, expanding its membership to include broader community representation. Recognizing that the pressing health care needs of the nation required new approaches, CHC was formed to help catalyze change from a focus on illness care to a focus on community-oriented primary health care, prevention, and community empowerment. From the beginning, CHC solicited community input through focus groups, community assessments, dissemination of surveys and questionnaires, participation in meetings of neighborhood groups and Priority Boards, and informal contact with community agency staff and community residents.

Building Strong, Multi-Level Partnerships

The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) has five goals: 1) Develop strong partnerships and expand existing partnerships among health educators, providers, and the community; 2) Educate students in the delivery of primary health care within the community; 3) Support and encourage community health advocacy programs that empower community members to become active participants in their own health and the health of the community; 4) Develop new collaborative models of practice that incorporate a multidisciplinary team approach; and 5) Conduct and disseminate health care research designed to address specific community health care needs and problems.

The development and sustaining of community academic partnerships is at the core of the work of the Center for Healthy Communities. CHC recognizes partnerships as dynamic entities representing various levels of organizational integration, and have developed a typology to help classify the work of partnerships.

CHC also operates under policy of non-competition with all community and academic partners. This means that the CHC: 1) will not be the applicant for local funds from organizations such as the United Way or the County Human Services Levy Fund which have traditionally supported public health safety net organizations; 2) will work in partnership on all federal and state funding applications with appropriate local academic partners; and 3) includes in all externally funded grant and contract budgets at least 25% of requested funds to support direct costs for participating community partner organizations.


The Partners

Community - The community partners of CHC include a wide range of organizations and individuals. Below is a partial list of CHC's community partners:

Campus -The partnership also includes several academic partners, including

Current Initiatives:

In 1997, a five-year strategic plan was developed by CHC staff in consultation with the Community Advisory Board and Deans Advisory Board with five strategic initiatives which support the overarching goals of the partnership. These initiatives are: I-Promote the Health of the Community; II-Educate Current and Future Providers About Community-based Multiprofessional Team Practice Focused on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; III-Expand Evaluation and Research Efforts to Promote and Support Community/Academic Collaboration in Identifying Strategies to Improve the Health Status of the Community; IV-Diversify and Increase the Funding Base Which Supports Center Programs and Activities; and V-Develop and Implement a Process for Continuous Dialogue with Community and Academic Partners. Specific goals are identified under each initiative, with success indicators identified for each goal as a means of tracking progress toward that goal. Success indicators and goals are reviewed and revised each year. In 2002, CHC began the process of developing a new strategic plan for the next five years.

Some current initiatives include:

Partnerships to improve health professions education through service learning while extending health care services
The 600 health professions students who complete clinical training experiences in the Dayton community facilitated through the CHC in community based organizations each year are doing so within the structure of the Service Learning Protocol for Health Professions Schools (SLPHPS) [link to attached PDF file "SLPHPS"]. The SLPHPS requires an integration of community service objectives with student learning objectives and involves both community and academic partners in the planning, implementation and evaluation of all student involvement in community based organizations. Additionally, CHC facilitates a six state regional program which provides training for health professions faculty and community site supervisors in the SLPHPS, provides small grants to both faculty and community organizations to establish new service learning clinical training experiences for health professions students, and serves over 75,000 community members annually. In addition, CHC has developed specific multiprofessional, community-based courses that are part of the core curricula for local programs.

Partnerships to support connecting community members to available resources while training and employing entry level health care workers called Community Health Advocates
When the CHC first began, extensive needs and assets assessments were conducted and focus groups were held with community and academic partners. Community members requested someone "who looks like me and talks like me" to serve as information and cultural brokers, and community college faculty and health care providers requested entry level workers to assist in linking people to existing resources. In response, the Community Health Advocate program was developed in conjunction with current outreach worker training programs. CHC Community Health Advocates currently work with over fifty health and human services organizations and serve over 10,000 community residents annually, connecting people to resources and providing health education and referral services In addition, CHC and partners established one of the first academic credit bearing training programs for Community Health Advocates.

Partnerships to prevent violence in the community
In response to requests from the community to respond to the growing public health concern of violence in our community, the CHC convened the Violence Prevention Partnership, a coalition of over forty organizations working together to develop a comprehensive community wide strategic plan for violence prevention. CHC sponsored a community wide conference to launch the strategic planning process and currently convenes the Violence Prevention Partnership monthly.

Partnerships to support community health development programs.
In response to neighborhood associations and local civic organizations requests for more neighborhood based activities, CHC convened service delivery teams at community health centers to extend services in the community. Funded through the American Heart Association, health professions students staff community nursing centers providing health screenings and education to neighborhood residents and directing them to their neighborhood health centers for ongoing health care services.

Partnerships to support kinship care giver programs
In response to health department and public school personnel concerns about children being cared for by grandparents because parents were unable, CHC convened the Grandparents/Grandchildren Coalition to explore the issues in the Dayton community. Five years later, we have established a Kinship care Navigator program to link kinship care families to available services, a program to assist kinship care providers with legal concerns, a multi-generation housing program, a lending closet for clothes, toys and equipment, and a day camp program.

Achieving Tangible Results

Center for Healthy Communities Service-Learning Student Activities

In the eleven years since the CHC's beginning, tens of thousands of community members, students, faculty, and agency representative and staff have been impacted by CHC activities. Outcomes include:

Increased Access to Medicaid - The CHC Advocate program includes annual contact with over 5,000 clients referred for information and assistance with completing applications for the Healthy Start/Healthy Families Medicaid program for children (CHIP) through the Medicaid Outreach initiative. In addition, over the time that Advocates have been working with this program, the percent of Medicaid applications which result in enrollment has increased from about 25% to over 40%, resulting in many more children with coverage for health care.

Increased Access to Healthcare through Health Promotion and Disease Prevention activities - CHC's efforts to support and promote health promotion and disease prevention activities have led to several significant outcomes. In the past year alone, about 500 community residents attended health screenings and education at the community nursing centers. Of these, close to 30% were successfully linked to a medical home for ongoing care.

Improved Health Professions Education and Assessment - CHC has actively worked to promote service-learning as a teaching methodology since 1994, with support from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Learn & Serve America: Higher Education program. About 600 health professions students complete clinical training experiences in community based organizations locally each year, serving about 30,000 community members. CHC has developed an instrument to assess changes in students' knowledge and attitudes as a result of these experiences, and has consistently documented an increased willingness to practice in underserved areas and commitment to continued community service by these students. About 60 faculty in the health professions disciplines at Wright State University, Sinclair Community College, and the Kettering College for Medical Arts use the service-learning teaching strategy annually. Regionally, over 1500 faculty have been involved in integrating service learning into health professions schools curricula in the past several years. Feedback from community based organizations who have partnered in service-learning indicates that overwhelmingly, the community values the presence and commitment of the students.

In addition to the outcomes highlighted above, CHC activities have strengthened the spirit of collaboration and cooperation among entities in Dayton, Ohio.

For more information on the Center for Healthy Communities, contact Katherine Cauley, at katherine.cauley@wright.edu or (937) 775-1114, Partnership Website: http://www.med.wright.edu/chc/

 

 

 
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