$350K award will help Springfield nonprofit expand health initiatives

The Nehemiah Foundation in Springfield was awarded a total of $350,000 from the Ohio Department of Health for projects designed to address community conditions that impact public health.

The nonprofit was among 26 recipients of roughly $6.89 million of one-year funding from the state’s health department to better health outcomes in Ohio’s “Health Improvement Zones.”

Health Improvement Zones are areas in Ohio dealing with socioeconomic and demographic factors that affect the resilience of people and their communities, according to an ODH press release.

Organizations who were awarded funding will either establish or expand initiatives that will help remove barriers to health in some of Ohio’s communities facing the greatest risk of poor health outcomes, ODH said.

Nehemiah Foundation executive director Amy Wilmann said that the $350,000 will go toward the foundation’s “Flourishing Neighborhoods” initiative, which aims to remove barriers in the community. The Faith Community and Nursing and Health Ministries program – a collaboration among the foundation, Mercy Health and the Clark County Combined Health District – will also expand through the funding.

Work funded through ODH the foundation’s Mental Health and the Church campaign, which equips faith leaders to have conversations with their congregation members about mental health, and its collaboration with the “Celebrate Simunye” group, among other activities related to “wellness,” “wholeness” and “oneness,” Wilmann said.

“Simunye” means “We are One” in Zulu, and the group focuses on building multi-ethnic relationships in the community. The group, led by local pastors, also focuses on reconciliation and unity.

“When people are connected and relationships are healed, we’re going to see, ‘Wow, that’s trickled up,’” she said.

Many Ohioans experience poorer health outcomes and live shorter lives because of the community conditions in which they live. Public health funding in the state has been largely limited to addressing gaps in quality healthcare and health education, ODH said.

This funding pool seeks to address those community conditions beyond healthcare access and health education alone, to include options for making positive health decisions, and systems that shape the conditions of daily life, ODH said.

The Nehemiah Foundation will host its Case for Community Summit, where people will voice their concerns for the wellness of the community and work toward drafting solutions, on Sept. 9 at Springfield City Hall.

Two other organizations in the Miami Valley were awarded ODH funding: Dayton Children’s Hospital and the Safety Council of Southwestern Ohio in Butler, according to ODH.

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