Press Release

Hospitals Receive AHA Award For Improving Community Health Through Effective Collaborative Projects

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced the winners of the AHA NOVA Award.  These five collaborative hospital-led programs work to improve community health by improving health habits and other social and educational factors leading to better health status and improving access to care.  Each program will be honored at a July 25 ceremony held during the association's annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Francisco.

"We know that hospitals improve the health of a community by caring for the sick, but hospitals can also inspire and work with those around them, so that together they can extend their reach," said AHA president and CEO, Rich Umbdenstock.  "The AHA NOVA Award recognizes those hospitals that through collaboration provide for the community through education, outreach and so much more."

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

Program - Lighten Up 4 Life
Mission Health System
, Asheville, N.C.
As part of an effort to educate the public on the importance of being aware of key health measurements, Mission partnered with its local Chamber of Commerce, newspaper and radio station to create a community-wide weight loss program called Lighten Up 4 Life (LU4L).  The program was designed as a five-month weight loss challenge, focusing on creating teams of employees at area businesses who encourage and support each other to lose weight and become healthier. 

Embraced by the entire community, over 3,000 individuals and 200 businesses participated in LU4L and over 20,000 pounds (an average of 5.2 percent of body weight) have been lost by participants.  The success of LU4L has created its own momentum with a second year already in progress and participating businesses working to stay involved.        

Program - Project BRIEF (Behavior intervention, Rapid HIV test, Innovative video, Efficient Cost and health care savings, Facilitated seamless linkage to outpatient HIV care)
Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital,
Bronx, N.Y.
The goal of Project BRIEF is to increase access to HIV screening, provide risk reduction education and offer seamless linkage to care for those testing positive.  The Bronx has a death rate from AIDS that is nearly ten times higher than the national average, while many patients most at risk lack coverage or access to health care providers.  Because these patients primarily use the hospital emergency department for their care options, Project BRIEF offers HIV testing and education in the ED /Urgent Care area during all shifts, coupled with immediate linkage to clinical care.

Using specially designed educational videos and software, and touch screen technology more patients can be efficiently seen and offered appropriate medical care.  From 2005 to July 2008, 14,690 patients agreed to be HIV tested and 98 were confirmed as HIV positive patients including 88 newly diagnosed HIV patients. 

Program - Really Awesome Health (RAH) and Wholesome Routines
Duke Raleigh Hospital,
Raleigh, N.C.
Established with a collaboration between Duke Raleigh Hospital, the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education and Rolesville Elementary School in 2000, RAH served as a model program for the larger initiative Wholesome Routines.  The goal of RAH is to provide health education to kindergarten through 2nd graders with the hopes of preventing illness, increasing preventive health screenings and developing life-long healthy habits.  In a partnership with the Poe Center, Wake County Public School System and The Duke Endowment, Wholesome Routines evolved and took health education one-step further.  The school-based comprehensive nutrition and physical activity program is designed for 3rd and 5th graders in local counties.

Wholesome Routines provides assistance to approximately 700 students.  Some successes include a decreasing prevalence of overweight children from 43 percent to 34 percent; 28 percent of participants reporting having fewer servings of fried snacks; and 39 percent of students reporting an increase in their weekly physical activity by an hour.

Program - Student Success Jobs Program
Brigham and Women's Hospital,
Boston, Mass.
The Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP) is an intensive year-round employment and mentoring internship program for students of Boston public high schools.  The program introduces students from the city's lowest-income communities to careers in health care, science and medicine by offering paid internships within the hospital.  Now in its eighth year, the program creates pathways into science, health or medicine careers for those who have traditionally been underrepresented in the field.  

SSJP is distinctive in that works on three levels to improve community health - by contributing to educational achievement for young people, enabling employment opportunity in communities of greatest need as well as increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce as SSJP students proceed forward in their career.  SSJP is comprised of multiple components that support the educational and social growth of participants.  Aside from internships and mentoring from health care professionals, SSJP students attend monthly seminars, participate in academic tutoring, receive financial college scholarships and assistance with the college application process and have the opportunity to shadow physicians, nurses and other health care professionals in the emergency department, operating room and during patient rounds. 

The outcomes have been impressive, with 98 percent of SSJP high school seniors pursuing a college education after graduating and 94 percent of these students majoring in science, medical or health related fields of study.

Program - Taos First Steps Program
Holy Cross Hospital,
Taos, N.M.
The First Steps program provides new parents with information, support and access to resources in the community that promote early childhood development and a positive family foundation.  The program provides weekly home visiting services from the prenatal period until the child's third birthday.  Parents learn about nutrition, preventive health care and pre-school readiness, which helps promote physically and mentally healthy children in a safe and nurturing family relationship.

In 2001, Taos established a formal collaboration to change the health and education status of its children.  First Steps eventually came about from this community collaboration that continues today.  During its first funded year beginning in July of 2007, First Steps provided 1,878 visits that served a total of 93 families. 

The 2009 AHA NOVA Award winners were selected from 58 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 www.aha.org.

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