Community Health Foundation grants to help 3 Clark, County organizations address health equity, social justice

CHF awarded $400K to 15 groups working in Clark and Champaign counties.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Community Health Foundation has authorized $400,000 to local organizations to help with outreach funding, according to a release from CHF.

The funding is for health equity, social justice needs and pandemic or emergency needs in Clark and Champaign counties.

“Our total funding of health and wellness programs in 2021 equals $710,000. This is an addition to our clinical services and to providing the free Health Expo each fall, which offers health screenings and health and wellness information to around 500 community members,” said Joy Rogers, CHF Executive Director.

The funds will be distributed to 15 local organizations, with three receiving health equity grants.

Clark County Combined Health District will receive $75,000 to fund a full time position dedicated to the elevation of health equity as a community priority.

“We are very exited to have received this grant. We are grateful for our partnership with the Community Health Foundation, and for their commitment to invest in the health equity of our community,” said Nate Smith, CCCHD Communications Coordinator.

Smith said the position is for a Health Equity Ambassador, which has not yet been filled. He said the CCCHD Board of Health will approve language for the position and an official job posting will be made and filled.

“Statistics show that minority populations in Springfield and Clark County are at a higher risk for poorer health outcomes. We believe this position will help us bridge gaps within segments of our community that have been underserved,” he said.

Although the person in the new position will be employed through the CCCHD, they will act as one of many liaisons between community planning/police groups and grass roots/community conversations, Smith said.

“The recent COVID-19 response has once again highlighted gaps in access to care, trust in healthcare systems, and social and economic resources for people of color living in Springfield and Clark County. These gaps result in a disproportionate burden of disease, vaccine coverage inequity and will most likely adversely impact the long-term recovery processes, post-pandemic,” he said.

Rocking Horse Community Health Center will receive $75,000 to fund an in-house pharmacy, which will positively impact patient outcomes, reduce disparities and ensure timely access to medications. The funds will also help language and transportation barriers.

“We’re really excited and humbled that Community Health Foundation thought enough of us to give us the opportunity to serve our patients in this way. We know that our patients sometimes have challenges getting prescriptions and things, so for them to be able to walk out of their doctor appointment and go upstairs in the same building and get prescriptions and medications, it’s a game changer for them and for us,” said Nettie Carter Smith, Director of Community Relations.

The in-house pharmacy will essentially be the same as a retail pharmacy, but for Rocking Horse patients.

“They can get medications, we can put it/fill pill boxes and pill packs for them, discuss adherence with them and medicine counseling, review medicine lists, and potentially give immunizations and delivery services as well,” said Erin Dickman, Clinic Pharmacists.

Carter Smith added that they are excited to partner with CHF as she feels this is the next step for the health center.

“We’re sort of a one stop shop now with all services provided for our patients, so this feels like the next step that we should be taking,” she said.

Dickman said the pharmacy team is also excited to expand their services.

“One thing as a pharmacy team is an expansion of our services. We’ve been here for multiple, multiple years serving our patients and we have expanded our services and what visits we have, but being able to expand our services to the practically of it... we are very excited for that opportunity,” she said.

1159 South – Rebuilding Blocks Program will receive $40,000 to rehabilitate a house for a healthy living environment. The program aims to rehabilitate at least 15 houses in five years in an area of the city where it’s harmful and there are unhealthy housing conditions.

“(We) are especially grateful for this grant in support of our Rebuilding Blocks program whose broad goal is targeted and strategic, block-based housing improvements in southwest Springfield where a serious need exists to transform distressed houses into safe and healthy homes. As one of the Rebuilding Blocks program’s early supporters, the Community Health Foundation’s support through this grant is key to improving housing conditions and lives in underserved neighborhoods,” said co-founder Lori Searcy.

Searcy said the program is targeting house improvements on and near the South Yellow Springs Street corridor, and they are working to identify houses to acquire and renovate within that area.

“This grant will help transform one or more substandard and unsafe houses into quality affordable homes free of health hazards. It will also help tackle social inequities by investing in neighborhoods that have experienced decades of disinvestment and are visibly in need of support,” she said.

Twelve other organizations will share the remaining $210,000 in pandemic or emergency funding for food access, housing/shelter and healthcare. These organizations include:

Citilookout for mental health services.

Episcopal Retirement Services Affordable Living to expand the gardening program and support the food pantry.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Clark, Greene & Madison Counties for furniture for reception areas.

Neighborhood House Partnership for home repairs and financial counseling.

Interfaith Hospitality Network for basic food, shelter needs and a summer camp for homeless children.

Oesterlen Services for Youth to support counseling with a focus on expanding telehealth services.

Open Hands Free Pantry for food, hygiene products and merchandise vouchers.

Project Woman for crisis stabilization, counseling for survivors, and expanded telehealth services.

Second Harvest Food Bank for a forklift and power jacks to move food supplies.

Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority for cleaning supplies for residents and basic housekeeping training.

United Senior Services to expand home delivery service of meals for seniors and expand the telephone reassurance program.

Wellspring to expand telehealth counseling services.

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