The Aetna Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, announced the organizations this year who have been selected to receive a grant as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to support communities that are changing the way they work together across sectors to reduce disparities in chronic disease outcomes. This grant program will award a total of $2 million to teams of organizations that will work together to change the food access and health care systems in their communities and engage community residents as leaders in their work.
The Challenge teams will each receive $100,000 to implement multi-year projects to advance health equity in communities where individuals are disproportionately impacted by health disparities. In addition to the funding, Challenge teams will participate in one-on-one technical assistance provided by APHA and NACo and co-create a supportive peer-learning network led by Healthy Places by Design over the course of the two years.
The project teams intend to use what they learn over the next two years to produce models and resources that can inform work in other similarly sized cities and counties across the country. Challenge communities have proposed strategies that include:
Increasing access points for purchasing fresh produce and receiving health care;
Leveraging local schools as partners;
Addressing barriers to transportation;
Building more equitable models for food procurement and distribution;
Increasing coordination and data-sharing across organizations;
Improving health care referral systems;
Developing community advisory boards; and
Informing local policies.
The project teams are located in the following cities and counties:
Chula Vista, California
Collier County, Florida
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Dougherty County, Georgia
Cumming/Forsyth County, Georgia
Perry County, Kentucky
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Orange County, New York
Rochester, New York
Tompkins County, New York
Cumberland County, North Carolina
Wilkes County, North Carolina
Cambria County, Pennsylvania
Greenbrier County, West Virginia
Wheeling, West Virginia
Welcome to Healthy Communities News — where we highlight communities that are finding innovative solutions to solve local health challenges. Our first episode features communities battling two common and persistent problems: food deserts and heart disease. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the East End Pop Up Market gives residents easy access to fresh food for the first time in four decades. In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, church leaders are mixing faith with fitness to stem the tide of heart disease and diabetes in their congregations.
New market gives Bridgeport residents access to fresh food
As the economy struggles and poverty rises in Bridgeport, manufacturing jobs are not the only thing leaving town: Residents have had to go farther and farther to find fresh food. But a group of local businesspeople is looking to reverse that trend. They’re opening the new East End Pop-Up Market, which will offer not only fresh food, but also job training and wellness workshops. It’s a solution that can be a model for food deserts across the country.
Bridgeport market gives entrepreneurs a jump start
Small businesses can revitalize neighborhoods – so the Bridgeport OIC is lending a hand to local entrepreneurs. We talk to Jeff Nelson of Seeding Knowledge, a start-up that plants and maintains gardens and sells produce. He’s expanding his services to the East End Pop-Up Market, where he’ll offer not only fruits and vegetables, but cooking classes and gardening instruction.
Faith begets fitness in Mecklenburg County
Faith leaders, county health officials, the local health system and community groups have proven that it takes a village to address local health issues. The Village HeartBEAT program created a fitness challenge in local congregations. The goal? To help residents battling heart disease and diabetes. The program uses exercise, nutrition and community gardens to help raise the spirits and lower the weight of participants.
Much like the neighborhood for which it is named, the Live Healthy Little Havana program is a mix of many different elements. It’s a community-led initiative, a partnership with the government, a collaboration with health organizations and an effort to improve resident/police relations — all rolled into one.
To really know what a community needs, you have to live there. Talk with your neighbors over the back fence. See the issues with your own eyes. That’s what makes the Live Healthy Little Havana program a success.
Neighborhood residents, working as community liaisons, are at the heart of the work to improve life for those in the community. And everyone’s got a seat at the table, from government representatives to health workers to lifelong residents. It’s a model that’s driving change — and one that other communities can replicate.
Live Healthy Little Havana participants are working on multiple fronts toward a single goal — to improve life for the residents of this storied community. We showed up at one of their events to hear about how it’s working — and watched as kids from the neighborhood vied to be the first to get the local police commander into the dunk tank.
Healthy Communities News spotlights local people with local solutions to health challenges in their communities. In Louisville, Kentucky, the shadow of segregation and the city’s past reluctance to invest in a historically black community have left many residents distrustful of government. But now, a group of longtime residents are driving efforts to help revitalize their neighborhood — and they’re doing it in partnership with the government. Together, they are creating programs like the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative — which, among other things, helps local kids learn about and experience nature. Because many local families don’t have easy access to parks or forests, the initiative brings nature to the children with a project called ECHO — Engaging Children in the Outdoors. We visited Louisville to learn more.
Our goal of building healthier communities by making health care local can be especially challenging when it comes to pediatric mental health access in rural communities.
But thanks to a $50,000 grant from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia to the West Virginia University School of Medicine, a new program will give the state’s pediatric health providers easier access to child and adolescent mental health resources.
The Pediatric Mental Health Telephone Access Line program, overseen by the school’s Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, will support frontline pediatricians, family medicine practitioners, and school health care providers by connecting children and adolescent psychiatrists by phone for informal consultation, advice and guidance.
“This generous gift from Aetna will be a gift to the children and the future of our state,” said Dr. Lauren W.M. Swager, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at WVU, who will serve as the clinical director of the Pediatric Mental Health telephone access line. “This program can help us build health and mental health access back into our most rural communities so our state’s children can continue to receive treatment in their pediatrician’s office.”
Todd White, CEO of Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, stated during the check presentation, “Being a trauma informed care organization, our Medicaid managed care health plan is honored to work with our partners at WVU to address the mental health needs of our state’s children.”
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends at least 47 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 children and adolescents. Despite these guidelines, West Virginia claims only 9 practicing psychiatrists per 100,000 children and adolescents, with only 32 total practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists in the state.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna, a CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) company, today announced the winners of the 2019 Voices of Health competition, a celebration of grassroots non-profit organizations across the country that are working to address social determinants of health in their communities.
The 102 participating non-profits promote health and well-being by addressing a wide range of community issues such as childhood obesity, access to affordable prescriptions and health care services, and providing food to the homeless, just to name a few. Each organization launched an online voting campaign – soliciting votes via their social media channels as well as through other marketing strategies - in their respective communities to compete for a $20,000 prize, among other prizes. In total, Aetna awarded $410K in grants to community organizations through the 2019 Voices of Health competition.
“The purpose of this competition is to support local non-profits and their missions to improve health and well-being in our communities, who go above and beyond where they can, and the winners this year do just that,” said Floyd Green, vice president of Aetna Community Affairs. “We believe that addressing health concerns outside of the doctor’s office is crucial to overall health and well-being and the reason why these organizations are singled out for their achievements. We are proud of their efforts and congratulate them all.”
The winners of the 2019 Voices of Health competition are:
House of Dawn, Atlanta, GA
New Hope Ministries, Central Pennsylvania
empowHERment, Charlotte, NC
Talbert House, Cincinnati, OH
Providence House, Inc., Cleveland, OH
Speak Project, Columbus, OH
Covenant Community Care, Detroit, MI
Exceptional Parents Unlimited Inc., Fresno, CA
Family Ties Family Resource Services, Houston, TX
Janet Goeske Foundation, Inland Empire, CA
The Arc Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
YouthCare, King County, WA
Hope Street Margolis Family Center, Los Angeles, CA
Home of the Innocents, Louisville, KY
Haitian Youth and Community Center of Florida, Inc., Miami, FL
Jawonio, New York, NY
Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, New York, NY
Children Crisis Treatment Center, Philadelphia, PA
East End Cooperative Ministry, Pittsburgh, PA
Via Services, Santa Clara, CA
Tacoma Community House, Tacoma, WA
“The videos created by each non-profit are incredibly powerful. Each tells an insightful story,” said Green. “It’s a great reminder of how local grassroots organizations can and do have tremendous, positive social impact.”The finalists in the competition were required to develop a short video explaining how their organization is making a difference where they operate locally. Each group was responsible for soliciting votes in a number of different ways, including sharing their videos through social media and other communication channels and directing voters to www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com.
The Voices of Health program is aligned with “Destination: Health,” a series of CVS Health business programs with an enhanced focus on helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting.
Aetna, a CVS Health business, serves an estimated 39 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @AetnaNews
Investments will support key initiatives across the state including increasing access to health care, preventing prescription opioid misuse and supporting tobacco-free living for at-risk populations
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – As part of its commitment to building healthier communities, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it and its private charity will be donating more than $2.5 million in Ohio over the next three years to improve the health and wellness of Ohioans across the state.
The new funding from CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation will help support Ohio nonprofits as they tackle critical health issues that the state is currently facing. Grants to a number of different organizations will focus on mitigating prescription opioid abuse and misuse, expanding access to health care for underinsured and uninsured populations, and helping people to quit smoking. The company is also committed to expanding its workforce presence and training programs within Ohio.
“We can help improve the health outcomes of our communities by strengthening our local support and empowering local organizations that are developing innovative solutions,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health. “The organizations we are working with are truly dedicated to addressing the key public health issues in the state of Ohio and can help people on their path to better health.”
Expanding access to affordable, quality care
Through a new $1.5 million donation over three years to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, CVS Health will help provide convenient access to care for more than 52,000 underserved Ohioans each year. The new grant program will allow the more than 60 free clinics across the state to increase capacity through additional staffing support, education and training for clinic teams. The funds will also be used to create new programming that will do more to support chronic disease management and address social determinants of health.
Helping to combat opioid misuse and abuse
To help veterans impacted by opioid misuse, the CVS Health Foundation has made a $100,000 grant to Easterseals of Cincinnati, over two years, to provide immersive community-based care, including mental health and recovery services for veterans.
CVS Pharmacy, the retail business of CVS Health, has also expanded its Safe Medication program in Ohio to 82 new locations during 2019, bringing the total number of in-store and community medication disposal units across the state to nearly 200. CVS Pharmacy has also expanded its successful Pharmacists Teach program to engage more than 500 Ohio youth and their parents on the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Delivering the first tobacco-free generation
As part of the company’s $50 million, Be The First initiative to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation, CVS Health is also committing $500,000 to the American Lung Association to help Ohioans quit smoking. The new donation will provide more than a quarter million Ohio Managed Medicaid plan members access to tobacco cessation services in 2019 and 2020 – especially important, since it is estimated that nearly 32 percent of all Medicaid patients nationwide smoke. Through the new partnership with the American Lung Association, participants will receive a one-year membership to the successful Freedom from Smoking program, which includes online cessation modules and access to the Lung Help Line.
Additionally, CVS Health is providing the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics with a $30,000 grant to incorporate a youth tobacco screening tool to assist health care providers in identifying adolescent smoking/vaping behavior and smoke exposure, and to equip health care providers with resources to share with their patients and caregivers.
In addition to supporting local nonprofits, CVS Health is also committed to expanding and enhancing its workforce programs in the state of Ohio to help find meaningful employment for veterans, individuals with disabilities, as well as youth and mature workers. The company recently opened a new WITC (Workforce Innovation & Talent Center) in Cleveland (video available), and this year has opened six other training sites across the state in Cleveland, Youngstown, Middleburg Heights, Cincinnati, Painesville, and Lewis Center. CVS Health will also continue to work with community partners, such as Centers for Families and Children, Goodwill Industries, Baldwin Wallace University and local high schools across the state, to support the growing needs of the Ohio workforce.
“Our continued investments to local non-profits and our workforce are key to making a meaningful impact on the lives of the people of Ohio,” said David Casey, Vice President, Workforce Strategies, and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health. “We are committed to working with these organizations to expand the delivery of care and build healthier communities across the state.”
About CVS Health
CVS Health is the nation’s premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.
About the CVS Health Foundation
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge Grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit www.cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.
Jean Peterson dropped by the City Line Avenue CVS Pharmacy in West Philadelphia to pick up pictures she’d dropped off at the photo department. Moments later, she also came away with a better picture of her own health — and the chance to snap a selfie with two local heroes: former Villanova basketball star Donte DiVincenzo and state Rep. Morgan Cephas.
Peterson had happened upon one of the many free screenings that CVS Health is offering across the country. During the next four months, nearly 600 Project Health events will take place in multicultural communities with a large number of uninsured or underinsured Americans. At each event, participants receive on-the-spot assessments of weight, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels – tests that can help detect risk for chronic conditions such diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Since its founding in 2006, Project Health’s free health and wellness screenings have delivered more than $127 million in free health care services to nearly 1.7 million Americans.
One of those Americans was Peterson. The 70-year-old retired nurse learned that her blood sugar was a bit high, most likely due to medications she was given after a recent back surgery. “I always take advantage of things like this,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt and it keeps me in touch with what I need to take care of.”
Know Your Numbers
Sometimes, the people who think they need the testing the least are the ones who benefit the most.
Brenda, a screener technician at the Project Health event in the Kendall neighborhood of Miami, said a lot of very fit people come in to be screened, usually because they want to know their BMI. But other tests are just as important. One of her patients was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
“The guy said, ‘I’m very fit, I go to the gym and stuff like that, I train people, too,’” said Brenda, who is applying to medical school. But they tested him three more times – once manually – and the results were the same. “And the doctor was like, ‘Hey, you need to go to your doctor and follow up. Please.’ We were very shocked. He looked extremely healthy, very muscular.”
Speaking Their Language
Many of our Miami stores sit in Hispanic neighborhoods, emphasizing the importance of having bilingual screeners, says Elena Ferrales, a health screening manager for Project Health.
Cristina, a young mother, wheeled her seven-month-old into the Miami store and signed up to have a screening while her baby slept in the stroller. She had diabetes while she was pregnant, and though her levels have gone down, she tries to check them regularly. After her screening, she sat with the doctor and, conversing in both English and Spanish, they discussed her results and he gave her food recommendations.
Later, a similar conversation with an older man was conducted entirely in Spanish.
A Slam Dunk for Health
As much as anyone, professional athletes understand the importance of good health. They also understand that it’s not always easy for people to access the care they need to achieve it.
“If I wake up feeling something is wrong, I know there’s a handful of people ready to check me out,” says Donte DiVincenzo, a two-time NCAA basketball champ with the Villanova Wildcats, now a point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks. “But I shouldn’t get special treatment just because I’m a pro athlete. Everyone should have these resources.”
A handful of athletes were featured speakers at Project Health events. In addition to DiVincenzo, who appeared in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Clippers forward Mfiondu Kabengele spoke in Anaheim and Heat player Bam Adebayo attended the Miami event.
Kabengele says he learned during his first year with the NBA the importance of undergoing regular checkups. Small everyday steps, he says, can add up.
“When you have poor health, everything dumbs down,” he says. “When you're healthy, your motor is good. Preventive care is a reality check to make improvements.”
Being good sports, the athletes joined the customers to be screened. Adebayo – a player for the Heat – noted how easy it was to get screened inside the store.
“You don’t have the anxiety, you don’t have to have an appointment, you don’t need to be there at 8, the anxiety of waiting around, what if something is wrong with me?” he said. “You just walk in, get it, see how it goes.”
Access for All
Morgan Cephas, a track and field star at Central High School in Philadelphia and now a Pennsylvania state representative, knows the importance of health care from the perspective of both an athlete and a policymaker. As vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, she noted that 10 percent of those in her district are uninsured or underinsured.
“Not everyone is the daughter or cousin or friend of a state representative,” she said. “They shouldn’t have to choose between managing their health and keeping a roof over their heads.”
An Immediate Impact
What happens after the screenings is up to the individual. But for one participant, the consultation had an immediate impact.
Zita James, 68, had been on her way to the nearby coffee shop when she noticed signs outside for the free screenings at the Philadelphia location. After her detour to CVS, she chose to make a positive change to her health.
“It stopped me going next door and getting two jelly doughnuts!” she laughed.
For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna, a CVS Health company, announced today that online voting is underway for the 2019 "Aetna Voices of Health" program at www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com. Voices of Health is a competition and celebration of grassroots non-profit organizations across the country that are working to address social determinants of health in their communities.
The 102 Voices of Health participants aim to promote health and well-being by addressing a wide range of community issues such as childhood obesity, access to affordable prescriptions and health care services, and providing food to the homeless, just to name a few. The voting period runs from September 9 through October 13.
Aetna will award $20,000 to the organization that receives the most online votes in its market. Participating markets include: Atlanta; Central Pennsylvania; Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Detroit; Fresno, CA; Houston; Inland Empire, CA; Jacksonville, FL; King County, WA; Los Angeles; Louisville, KY; New York City
All organizations participating in this year's Voices of Health competition were selected in April, during a public nomination period.
"We at Aetna have an amazing opportunity, and responsibility, to improve the health and well-being of our communities by focusing on how we address social determinants of health," said Floyd Green, vice president of Aetna's Community Affairs. "While Voices of Health is a competition, the program aims to help establish community-based networks for the organizations to leverage each other's services, allowing for more access to those who need them."
Campaigning for Votes
The Aetna "Voices of Health" website will feature a one-minute video from each organization describing how the prize money would help it further its mission. Organizations will be able to advocate for votes in different ways, including sharing their videos through social media and other communication channels.
To learn more about the organizations competing in Voices of Health or to vote, visit http://www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com/
The Voices of Health program is aligned with "Destination: Health," a series of CVS Health business programs with an enhanced focus on helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting.
Aetna, a CVS Health company, serves an estimated 38 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers' compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, visit www.aetna.com and explore how Aetna is helping to build a healthier world. @AetnaNews
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A new mural is on display and was recently dedicated on Mother’s Day to Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, thanks in part to CVS Health. The mural featuring beautiful flowers in bloom was created by Detroit artist Louise “Ouizi” Jones, and is painted on the exterior of a CVS Pharmacy on the 3600 block of North Southport Avenue.
“CVS Health is so delighted to have been a part of this project, and our involvement is an example of the ways that we are working to build healthier communities,” said Joe Haas, region manager at the CVS Pharmacy where the mural is located.
The mural is part of an effort to unveil 15 new public works of art across the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, fostering among its residents a stronger sense of pride, ownership and investment in their community.
“As a leading health care company, we like to say that health starts in the community,” added Haas. “And health is determined in part by the quality of our neighborhoods and the nature of our social interactions and relationships. This beautiful mural is a way to inspire, uplift and unite the Lakeview community, and contribute to its social health and vibrancy.”