Press Release

Hospitals Honored for Improving Community Health

Five Collaborative Programs Win AHA NOVA Award

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2016) The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced that it will honor five programs for their hospital-led collaborative efforts that improve community health, awarding them the AHA NOVA Award. The awards will be given July 19 at a ceremony during the Health Forum/AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. The winning programs are Baylor Scott & White Health’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center in Dallas; Healthy Communities Initiative, East Ocean View in Norfolk, Va.; Mobile Dental Program at the Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation in Houston; Strong Beginnings in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Get Healthy, Live Well in Carrollton, Ga.

“Hospitals care not only for patients, but also work tirelessly with community groups and organizations to offer the most to those in need beyond the walls of their buildings,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The programs recognized by the AHA NOVA award inspire us all with their collaborative, caring approach to improving community health and wellness.”

Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health. The 2016 winning programs and hospital partners are:

Baylor Scott & White Health’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute (DHWI) at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center
Baylor Scott & White Health – Dallas

The DHWI at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center is a joint effort by Baylor Scott & White Health-North Texas, the City of Dallas and the southern Dallas community. The institute improves diabetes management, health outcomes and overall wellness for a vulnerable, underserved community. DHWI membership is free and open to the entire community.  Members have access to medical treatment and wellness care, weekly lifestyle programs and classes such as nutritional cooking classes, meal planning, support groups and exercise classes, as well as weekly farmers markets. More than 4,000 community members have participated directly in the programs, with a significant impact on members’ optimal blood sugar levels, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Communities Initiative, East Ocean View, Norfolk, Va.
Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System – Norfolk, Va.

Bon Secours Healthy Communities Initiative began in 2009 in East Ocean View, Va., a community of over 4,500 resident where crime and poverty were high and access to healthy, fresh foods and primary health care services low or nonexistent. The combination has led to hypertension, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. As a holistic, community-driven approach, the partnerships have grown to include churches, community centers, the City of Norfolk, the East Ocean View Civic League, restaurants, farms, housing development organizations, universities, military bases, and other business and civic groups. Programs include a food pantry and community garden; “Passport to Health,” which focuses on family eating, exercise and lifestyle; and medical and dental care, including primary care and screening through a mobile health unit and nurse navigators to help individuals access and coordinate needed services. The “Passport to Health” program helped 74 families (a total of 100 individuals) shed a total of 412 pounds over a three year period, with 21 of the participants seeing decrease in blood pressure, and several with lowered cholesterol scores.    

Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation Mobile Dental Program
Memorial Hermann Health System – Houston

The Memorial Hermann Mobile Dental Program provides continuity of dental care and consists of three 40-foot vans on rotation schedules at 10 Memorial Hermann Health Centers for Schools clinics in five school districts where children can be served. The program uses a full complement of preventive and restorative dental care, is accessible even when school is not in session, and is free to families. The vans rotate among the primary care clinics at three-month intervals, remaining at each site for a month. School-based clinic staff schedule patients and contact dental staff when emergencies arise while the van is off-site.

Strong Beginnings
Spectrum Health – Grand Rapids, Mich.

Strong Beginnings is a partnership of eight organizations dedicated to improving maternal and child health and addressing the significant disparities in perinatal health among African Americans in Kent County, Mich. The program conducts outreach through community health workers (CHWs) to recruit and engage hard-to-reach women; provides home visits by nurses, social workers and CHWs for social support, case management, education and referrals to needed resources; offers individual and group mental health counseling; provides parenting classes for mothers and fathers; and conducts community education. In Kent County, participants are significantly more likely to seek prenatal care in the first trimester, breastfeed and complete well-child visits compared to African American mothers who do not participate. As a result, the black infant mortality rate in Kent County has been cut in half over the last decade.

Get Healthy, Live Well (GHLW)
Tanner Health System – Carrollton, Ga.

Tanner Health System’s GHLW is a community network working to decrease health disparities, reduce obesity rates, prevent and manage chronic disease, eliminate tobacco use, increase physical activity and improve nutritious eating at schools, work sites, hospitals and clinics, early childcare centers, faith-based institutions, and the community at large. Key partnerships through schools, business and industry, and faith-based organizations — as well as innovative community-clinical linkages — have allowed GHLW to reach community members across multiple sectors and have a broad impact on the region’s health.

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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