Five Collaborative Programs Earn 2021 AHA Dick Davidson Nova Award

WASHINGTON (September 15, 2021) –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 Better Outcomes Thru Bridges (BOB), Providence Health & Services, Portland, Ore.; Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, Texas; Connected Community Network and Homeless Health Initiative, CommonSpirit Health, Chicago; COVID-19 Community Prevention Project, Luminis Health, Annapolis, Md.; and Memorial ALLIES, Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood, Fla. 

“Prioritizing the health and wellbeing of their patients and communities is just one of the responsibilities that hospitals and health systems have, and this year we have witnessed countless examples of hospitals meeting the needs of their communities while battling a once-in-a-century pandemic,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The recipients of this year’s AHA Dick Davidson NOVA award have created collaborative partnerships and programs to address the needs of their communities during these challenging and unprecedented times.”

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 2021 winning programs and hospital partners are:

Better Outcomes Thru Bridges
Providence Health & Services, Portland, Ore.

The Better Outcomes thru Bridges Program (BOB) uses peer support, outreach and community partnerships to help vulnerable people access the care they need. Using Providence’s Collaborative Community Approach Model, which allows for continuous engagement across a patient’s service delivery continuum, BOB supports patients with mental health, substance use or chronic pain disorders whose ability to connect with or maintain follow-up care is impeded. Staff include a licensed clinical social workers, bachelor’s level outreach workers and peer support specialists with lived experience to understand the special needs of this population. BOB operates out of Providence’s regional behavioral health call center; primary care and specialty clinics; emergency departments; elementary, middle and high schools; and partners with community mental health, public health and housing agencies and other treatment providers. Emergency department use rates have decreased 45% after engagement with the BOB program. During the pandemic, the BOB program cared for the COVID-positive homeless population by renting motel rooms and providing food, clothing, medications and support, while school outreach specialists delivered food and other essentials to at-risk, low-income students.

Blue Zones Project Fort Worth
Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, Texas

Blue Zones Project Fort Worth is a community-led well-being improvement initiative that focuses on changing the environment around us to make healthy choices easier. In 2014, Fort Worth community leaders and volunteers, led by Texas Health Resources, the chamber of commerce and the mayor’s office, set out to support policy changes that helped create a more walkable, bike-able community; increase access to healthy foods; and reduce tobacco use. Efforts to achieve these objectives raised Fort Worth’s ranking in the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index from 185th out of 190 metro areas to 31st (tied) out of 156 metro areas by 2018.  The city’s 2020 well-being score was unchanged in the midst of the pandemic, and Fort Worth held steady on the dramatic well-being increases made since Blue Zones Project began efforts. When COVID-19 hit, Blue Zones Project Fort Worth pivoted from programming to supporting community partners in responding to food insecurity. Collaborations included providing meals, fresh foods and pantry items through multiple community groups, funding essential hygiene supplies and providing books and supplies for schools, community centers and homeless services.

Connected Community Network and Homeless Health Initiative
CommonSpirit Health, Chicago

CommonSpirit’s Connected Community Network (CCN) model, a network of community partners addressing social determinants of health (SDOH), aims to close the gap between medical and non-medical providers and create a continuum of care. The network links individuals to appropriate community resources while collectively tracking outcomes. CCNs’ costs are covered through a community bank model that allows all providers, payers, agencies, schools, faith organizations, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to collectively fund the development of a community network and ensures they all have ownership and accountability to the initiative. When COVID-19 hit San Joaquin County, social needs for many CCN patients ramped up as community-based organizations (CBOs) reduced staff or closed their doors. The San Joaquin CCN convener, United Way, created a volunteer program to route willing volunteers to serve short-staffed CBOs. The integration between CCN and CommonSpirit’s Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) enabled a rapid response to pandemic-related needs of communities. HHI quickly implemented the Homeless Response to COVID-19, which has provided nearly $2.6M to nonprofits across California and has focused on serving housing insecure and unhoused community members. Since March of 2020, this support has provided over 138,000 meals, expanded shelter services, assisted in rental relief and increased access to hygiene supplies for individuals experiencing homelessness. In addition to direct support, CommonSpirit partnered with the organization Health Leads and the Health Care for the Homeless Council to research the impact of COVID-19 in California's rural communities and on medical respite programs. 

COVID-19 Community Prevention Project
Luminis Health, Annapolis, Md.

The Luminis Health COVID-19 Prevention Program was designed to provide education and resources to the most vulnerable residents in the organization’s service areas. The goals were to educate residents about COVID-19, connect them with testing resources and provide direction on quarantining, provide resources related to food scarcity and financial insecurity, and to prevent worsening disparities by improving knowledge about COVID-19 infection and prevention. The community outreach team went door-to-door in neighborhoods to provide one-minute verbal instructions on COVID prevention strategies and provide cloth masks, bilingual education flyers, information on how to access Luminis’ free telehealth program and hygiene products. Partners included property managers of senior or low-income housing, faith leaders, business owners/managers, other nonprofit and government leaders and donors and funders. To date, the outreach team has reached 45,900 residents and has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to 8,000 residents through mobile vaccine clinics.

Memorial ALLIES 
Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood, Fla.

Memorial ALLIES (Adults Living Life Independent, Educated and Safe) addresses social isolation and the related causes that place older adults at risk of losing their independence. Through ALLIES, a team of social workers collaborates with community-based agencies to connect seniors with services for meals, transportation, medical care, environmental safety scans and access to activities. Since its inception in June 2016, ALLIES has provided case management to more than 900 participants and engaged more than 1,700 participants in education, nutrition and physical activities. Of those, 94% of patients felt more connected to their community, 91% have improved physical and mental health through classes and games and 93% report feeling safer at home thanks to home visits, fall prevention workshops and exercise classes. During the pandemic, ALLIES created a “Front Porch Support” model to deliver healthy food, face masks, cleaning supplies, puzzles and more to patients’ homes. In addition, ALLIES purchased smart phones with service for those who did not have them and taught them through home and car windows how to use pre-set features to stay connected emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

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About the American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association (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 advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and 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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Photo Credit: CentraCare