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 six 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 24 ceremony held during the Association's annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Diego.

"A hospital through its good work will make its community healthier, safer and a better place to live," said AHA president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock.  "The AHA NOVA Award recognizes those hospitals, individuals, and programs that have taken the extra step and are examples of what all hospitals should strive for and what all communities hope to achieve."

Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health.

The AHA NOVA AWARD winners are:

Program - Medical-Legal Partnership for Children
Boston Medical Center Corporation,
Boston, Mass.

For over 13 years, the Medical Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC) has worked through a child's pediatrician to connect families with legal advocates to assist with matters ranging from mediation with landlords and utility companies to helping a family gain access to income supports like the food stamp program.  Today with a staff of 10 lawyers and paralegals the MLPC has served over 869 families.  The program's use of "preventative law" has been adopted by others and helps improve health conditions of children and families by identifying problems before they become crises.

Program - NOW Program (Nutritional Options for Wellness)
Spectrum Health
, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Many Americans with chronic diseases and limited financial means lack the tools and education needed to provide themselves with a proper diet necessary to promote good health.  The NOW Program's "food prescriptions" allow those with chronic diseases to receive nutritious food from local food pantries.  In a little under a two year period some 335 patients have been served.  The program also provides opportunities for wellness and nutrition education through healthy cooking classes and by providing information about chronic diseases faced by participants.  Evidence of the program's success has been reflected through a decrease in emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and office visits in the community.

Program - Richland Care
Palmetto Health
, Columbia, S.C.

Richland Care is a coordinated health care delivery system for low-income, uninsured residents of Richland County, South Carolina.  With a medical home as the cornerstone for care, program participants have access to primary care, specialty care, hospital services, pharmaceuticals and mental health and substance abuse services.  To date the program has served over 11,600 low income, uninsured residents or approximately 35 percent of the uninsured in Richland County whose income fall below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.  Richland Care continually evaluates services to ensure that the intervention is meeting the needs of the community.  Program results include improved self-reported health status and significant reductions in utilization of ED and inpatient hospital services among participants. 

Program - Trauma Nurses Talk Tough (TNTT)
Legacy Health System
, Portland, Ore.
TNTT was founded more than 20 years ago by trauma nurses who knew they must act proactively to prevent the injury and death of young people making high-risk decisions such as speeding, drinking and driving. The program successfully combines legislation, school education, court-ordered classes, family programs and community events, and has been replicated throughout the country. With the frequent help of law enforcement and members of the judicial system, TNTT strives to educate both youth and their parents about the dangers of unsafe driving, the importance of helmets and the consequences of alcohol and drug use.

Program - UMass Memorial Medical Center Healthy Youth Development Initiative
UMass Memorial Health Care
, Worcester, Mass.

To find the root causes of violence and other health disparities in Worcester, the Healthy Youth Development Initiative (YDI) was founded in 1994.  YDI is comprised of the Worcester Youth Center, which provides a physical location for youth development; The HOPE Coalition, which is a diverse group of teenagers from 17 organizations who target programs addressing the needs of at risk youth; and Building Brighter Futures with Youth Employment, a program initiated by the United Way that provides for a citywide youth
workforce employment agenda to help break the cycle of poverty.  Participant involvement through the YDI has empowered children with better decision making skills and has helped to address issues like poverty, alienation and inaccessibility to needed health services. 

Program - Youth Health Partnership - Patee Market Youth Dental Clinic
Heartland Health
, St. Joseph, Mo.

One of the fundamental beliefs of the Youth Health Partnership (YHP) is that all children in the community thrive to ultimately grow into productive adults who contribute back to the community.  Focused on the 'silent epidemic' of oral health the YHP sought to help the nearly 20,000 children who lacked access to oral health care under Medicaid.  Opened in 2002, the Patee Market Youth Dental Clinic serves an average of 24 children daily with over 5,400 patients on its roster. Today the clinic serves as the only full time, full service pediatric Medicaid dental practice in Northwest Missouri, serving roughly 27 percent of the region's Medicaid children resulting in fewer absences and related health problems in the St. Joseph School District.

The 2007 AHA NOVA Award winners were selected from almost 60 applications and recommended by the AHA NOVA Award Committee 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 NOVA Award.

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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