By Gene Woods

Through innovation and collaboration, hospitals and health systems across the country are taking the lead in their community and working to help residents overcome economic and social barriers to health. Every day, I have the pleasure to see and read examples of how health care organizations are reaching outside of their walls in new ways, and today, I’d like to invite you to share your story with the AHA.

For nearly 25 years, the AHA NOVA Awards have recognized hospitals and health systems that are partnering with local organizations and developing innovative programs to address priority needs and improve community health. Previous NOVA Award recipients have undertaken projects such as: launching a community-based care coordination project to stem the opioid epidemic in rural areas; organizing a health and wellness alliance to fight childhood asthma, which included a school-based telemedicine program; operating a mobile medical clinic to serve lower-income children in inner cities, including collaborating with local schools, faith-based organizations and public health agencies; and working with community partners to expand dental care – emergency and preventive – for uninsured residents.

Sharing the work of other hospitals, health systems and their community partners is an important part of this AHA award program. The deadline for the 2018 NOVA Awards has been extended to Dec. 8. I invite you to visit to learn more and apply today. Thank you for your work on these joint efforts. I couldn’t be more proud of our ongoing work to build a society of healthy communities, where all individuals have the opportunity to reach their highest potential for health.

Gene Woods is the Chairman of the AHA Board of Trustees.