Press Release

Hospitals Receive AHA Award 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, uninsured or underserved children and adults, the chronically ill and racial and ethnic minorities.  Each program will be honored at a July 26 ceremony held during the association's annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Diego.

"Hospitals do so much for the community, yet they depend upon the caring and compassion of other groups and organizations to offer the most to those in need," said AHA president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock.  "The AHA NOVA Award recognizes those hospitals working collaboratively with others that provide valued and compassionate programs to their community and today's winners are truly inspirational examples."

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 - ENERGIZE! Pediatric Diabetes Intervention Program
WakeMed Health & Hospitals,
Raleigh, N.C.

ENERGIZE! is a program developed by WakeMed Health & Hospitals' Pediatric Diabetes Program designed to teach at-risk young people ages 6 to 18 how to build lifelong, healthy attitudes about food and fitness. Children are enrolled in the program if they have elevated blood glucose or metabolic syndrome, indicating high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The children participate in a 12-week, 3-night-a-week, community-based intensive education and lifestyle change program with lessons in nutrition, physical fitness, and behavior change. To date, more than 500 children have completed the program. ENERGIZE! is partially grant funded, is free for participants and has been particularly successful reaching the un- and under-insured children in the region.

Program -Every Child Succeeds
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center,
Cincinnati, Ohio.

Every Child Succeeds is a collaborative program whose nurses, social workers and child development specialists provide home visits to first-time, at-risk mothers and their babies on a regular basis from the time of pregnancy until the child's third birthday.  Home visitors offer parenting support and guidance such as tracking the baby's development; offering health and nutrition education and assessing the home environment to ensure it is safe and stimulating.  The program is voluntary and all services are provided free of charge.  Since 1999, Every Child Succeeds has served more than 13,500 families through more than 261,000 home visits.

Program - Memorial Hermann Health Centers for Schools
Memorial Hermann,
Houston, Texas.

Memorial Hermann operates health centers on-site at five campuses in the greater Houston area that serve more than 21,000 children at 28 schools and provide accessible primary health care, mental health services, nutritional guidance and dental care at no charge to uninsured and underinsured children.  The Houston community faces barriers to care, with one-third of the population lacking health insurance.  Memorial Hermann has committed to a long-term effort to serve the medically disadvantaged with a focus on children in need.  Since 1995, Memorial Hermann has committed $9.6 million to this effort.

Program - Nutrition Center for Maine
Saint Mary's Health System,
Lewiston, Maine.
St. Mary's Health System works to feed the hungry, provide access to locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, provide nutrition education and combat obesity through the St. Mary's Nutrition Center of Maine.  The Center grew out of collaborative efforts between St. Mary's Food Pantry, which is the largest emergency food pantry in New England and St. Mary's Lots to Gardens program, which created 15 community gardens to provide access to fresh food.  Together, these programs distribute over 12,980 boxes of food annually to more than 26,000 community members; offer nutrition and cooking classes; and run a youth intern program that provides participants with valuable leadership skills.

Program - Partnership for Community Health
California Pacific Medical Center,
San Francisco, Calif.

Partnership for Community Health provides critically needed outpatient medical care and preventive services to patients who lack any form of health coverage.  Partnership for Community Health works to improve access to primary care through existing community clinics and increase access to specialty health care through development of a referral program with California Pacific Medical Center affiliated specialists.  Each clinic develops its own health plan based on its infrastructure and the unique needs of the community it serves.  California Pacific Medical Center has funded the program at $2 million per year for the past three years with 63 percent of the patients served being below the federal poverty level.    

The 2008 AHA NOVA Award winners were selected from almost 67 applications, 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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