Hospitals and Health Systems Recognized for Improving Community Health

Five Collaborative Programs Win 2019 AHA Dick Davidson NOVA Award


WASHINGTON (July 22, 2019) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced that it will honor five programs with the AHA Dick Davidson NOVA Award for their hospital-led collaborative efforts that improve community health. The winning programs are Stark County Toward Health Resiliency for Infant Vitality and Equality (THRIVE), Canton, Ohio; Project Ujima, Milwaukee; Women-Inspired Neighborhood Network: Detroit, Detroit; House of Mercy Homeless Center, Janesville, Wis.; and the Transforming Communities Initiative, Livonia, Mich.

“Hospitals and health systems are increasingly bringing care and resources directly to where patients are, including outside of traditional settings,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “By developing effective partnerships with all sectors of the community, this year’s AHA Dick Davidson NOVA award winners are true leaders who are innovating new ways to address some of our most pressing health challenges.” 

The AHA Dick Davidson NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health status, whether through health care, economic, or social initiatives. Honorees participate in joint efforts among health care systems or hospitals, or among hospitals and other community leaders and organizations


The 2019 winning programs and hospital partners are:


Stark County Toward Health Resiliency for Infant Vitality and Equality (THRIVE)

Aultman Hospital and Canton City Public Health – Canton, Ohio

THRIVE works to reduce infant mortality rates and birth outcome disparities in Stark County, where infant mortality rates were some of the highest in the nation. A collaboration between local hospitals, health departments and community partners, THRIVE works to educate, elevate and support new mothers and families in the community to see that every baby reaches his/her first birthday. A county-wide, data-driven system connects local at-risk residents to needed medical care and social services. Key to this system are community health workers employed by clinics, social service agencies and other organizations who coordinate services while acting as partners, coaches and advocates. The program is advanced through upstream intervention focused on group prenatal care and downstream intervention focused on safe sleep education.


Project Ujima

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wis. 

Project Ujima is a 20-plus-year multidisciplinary collaboration addressing youth and adult violence through individual, family and community intervention, as well as prevention strategies. Services include hospital-based crisis intervention, home-based counseling and grief programs. A new collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts provides young people who have experienced a violent injury a creative outlet to share their experience and their hopes for the future. Project Ujima youth also created their own portraits through the Peace Paper Project, which uses papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement and community activism.


Women-Inspired Neighborhood Network: Detroit

Henry Ford Health System – Detroit, Mich.

The Women-Inspired Neighborhood Network works to prevent infant mortality by reducing the rate of preterm and low or very low birthweight deliveries by African-American mothers in Wayne County, Michigan, where 35 percent of women lack access to prenatal care. Community health workers and certified nurse midwives offer group-based prenatal care classes and a home-visiting curriculum that continues through the baby’s first birthday. In addition to prenatal topics, the culturally competent group-based classes address social determinants of health and educate mothers on health literacy, budget management, goal setting and navigating community resources.


House of Mercy Homeless Center

Mercyhealth – Janesville, Wis.

The House of Mercy provides short-term emergency shelter and engages community partners to help clients address the root causes of their homelessness and identify stable, long-term housing. Clients, who include both families and single women, receive case management support in securing child care, employment assistance, life skills training, transportation, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. The House of Mercy tracks recidivism rates, resident satisfaction and self-sufficiency scores. Under the newly launched Rapid Re-Housing program, participants are eligible for the full payment of first month’s rent and security deposit, plus subsidized rent for at least six months. Partners include Rock County Human Services, Rock County Job Center, Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, Legal Action Wisconsin and local colleges and school districts.


Transforming Communities Initiative

Trinity Health – Livonia, Mich.

The Transforming Communities Initiative addresses social influencers of health through policy, systems and environmental change strategies, with the ultimate goal of creating healthy, safe places for families to live, grow and work. Trinity Health targeted eight communities struggling with poverty, health disparities, high unemployment, and high levels of food insecurity. In each community, a local Trinity Health hospital, along with a community-based not-for-profit partner, leverages a renewable grant of up to $450,000 to implement six evidence-based strategies focused on, among other areas, reducing youth tobacco use and addressing childhood obesity. Within the initiative, partners also have the ability to develop additional strategies as warranted by community need. Grant recipients worked with community school districts, state, county and city governments, universities, public health departments, local media and residents to optimize their efforts and get results.




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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