Press Release

AHA Awards Hospitals For Improving Community Health Through Effective Collaborative Projects

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today awarded the AHA NOVA Award to five collaborative hospital-led programs that improve community health by extending help to low-income and uninsured children and adults, the chronically ill and racial and ethnic minorities.  Each program will be honored at a July 15 ceremony during the association's annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Francisco.

“A good hospital knows the community it serves and then learns how to help make it better,” said AHA president Dick Davidson.  “The AHA NOVA Award demonstrates how hospitals can and do make communities healthier and better places to live.  Uniting together and working with like-minded groups to bring about change in their communities is why we are honoring these hospitals today.”

Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health. The five winning programs include ten hospitals.

The AHA NOVA AWARD winners are:

Program – Healthy Learners
Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals
, Columbia, SC; Allendale County Hospital, Fairfax, SC; McLeod Medical Center, Dillon, SC; Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC

Healthy Learners, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, is committed to helping children in the community by improving their “whole health.” In 1992, Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals led the effort to reach children in need of health care by establishing the original Healthy Learners program in the Midlands of South Carolina.  The program currently serves uninsured and underinsured school age children in seven school districts across the state by providing access to needed health care, as well as assistance with transportation to receive care. Healthy Learners strives to improve the academic achievements of each child in the program by removing health barriers to learning, therefore decreasing absenteeism and allowing students to focus on their education.

Program – Primary Care Access Network (PCAN)
Health Central
, Ocoee, Fla.; Florida Hospital, Winter Park, Fla.; Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando, Fla.

PCAN was formed in 1999 when 2 local hospital emergency departments closed, exacerbating health care access issues for Orange County's 175,000 uninsured residents. Knowing that the problem was larger than any one of the hospitals, a 20-member collaborative was formed to improve access, quality and coordination of health care services.   Success has come with over 60,000 uninsured enrolled in a “medical home.”   

Program – ProHealth Care Community Health Outreach Initiative
ProHealth Care
, Waukesha, Wis.

With the goal of improving health and quality of life for local residents, ProHealth Care brought together various community organizations and created a mission to serve the most vulnerable populations – the underinsured, uninsured, working poor and those hard to reach populations due to language and cultural challenges.  Today, ProHealth Care’s Community Outreach Initiative provides access to nurses in over 40 different locations throughout the community including churches, schools, shelters and more. In addition a broad-based Hispanic Health Initiative was launched including a Hispanic Community Health Resource Center with bilingual staff and culturally competent services and education.

Program – Saint Joseph Mobile Health Services
Saint Joseph Healthcare Inc
., Lexington, Ky.
The Mobile Health Services (MHS), which consists of two buses that are 40-feet long, eight feet wide and 12- feet tall, provide needed care to the medically underserved, most of whom are uninsured.  Serving several surrounding rural counties, including some in Appalachia, Saint Joseph HealthCare brings the care to those most in need using telemedicine and a network of community leaders, volunteers and public private partnerships.  Established in 1997, MHS is a free clinic that serves numerous sites and helps individuals move from crisis management of illness to preventative care and wellness.
Program – Yonkers Childhood Health Initiative
St. John’s Riverside Hospital
, Yonkers, N.Y.

St. John’s Riverside Hospital believes that the betterment of their community begins with the health of the children who live there.  In existence since 1998, the Yonkers Childhood Heath Initiative has now partnered with over 60 public and private organizations.  The initiatives primary goals have centered on school-based programs for children that establish proper protocols for asthma treatment, needed immunizations and the establishment of an obesity prevention curriculum that provides nutrition education and better understanding of the role of exercise.  These programs teach children lifelong lessons for better health and highlight the positive impact on the educational process.   

The 2006 AHA NOVA Award winners were selected from more than 62 applications and recommended by the AHA NOVA Award advisory panel and committee on awards and approved by the AHA Board of Trustees. The award is co-sponsored by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

AHA NOVA Award winning programs share a common goal with the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) – to improve community health.  ACHI is the premier national association for community health, healthy communities and community benefit and is an educational affiliate of the AHA.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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