Rural Health Week: When a rural community comes together

When you’re an EMS director, trying to respond to 7,000 residents scattered around a county the size of a small state can be a challenge. It’s even more challenging when there’s rough, winter roads, many stairs or if one is working with a patient who is taller or larger than average. But when you have a community that’s as supportive as the people of Wallowa County, these challenges become easier to conquer.

Thanks to the Wallowa Valley Health Care Foundation, the community was able to host fundraisers ranging from charity dinner auctions and giving circles– fundraisers which raised nearly $100,000. These funds helped the Wallowa EMS Department purchase a four wheel dirve ambulance, three Stair Chairs, and two PowerPro lifts and stretchers. These purchases are contributing factors to how Wallowa paramedics and EMTs can respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations.

Health Care Stories: Now serving Malheur and Wallowa counties: OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has reached a milestone with its Community Partnership Program. The program now funds projects impacting Oregonians in every county across the state.
“Reaching the important milestone of providing funding to address cancer across the entire state is incredibly gratifying,” said Kerri Winters-Stone, Ph.D., co-director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program. “We’re proud to see the program providing support to address a wide variety of cancer-related concerns, and now, to people across the entire state.”
Since October 2014, the program has helped communities conduct cancer-related projects targeting a diverse range of cancer types and demographics. The Community Partnership Program offers multiple tiers of funding to support local organizations in identifying and developing tools to address a local cancer-related need.

Organizations receiving grants in this funding cycle include:

  • Ashland Family YMCA, Ashland, OR
  • Josephine County Foundation, Murphy, OR
  • Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Portland, OR
  • American Cancer Society, Portland, OR*
  • Crook County Health Department, Prineville, OR*
  • Northeast Oregon Network, La Grande, OR (this grant provides resources for Malheur and Wallowa counties)
  • Oregon State University, Health Promotion and Health Behavior, Corvallis OR
  • Tillamook Regional Medical Center, Tillamook, OR*
  • Uriel Medical Foundation, Bend, OR
  • Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Foundation, Cornelius, OR
  • Zenger Farm, Portland, OR**
  • Zenger Farm, a previous grantee receiving funding again this cycle, aims to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for patients with cancer and chronic disease. Patrons of Zenger Farm participate in this program through the Mid-County Prescription Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Pilot in Multnomah County. The program is designed to test the effectiveness and feasibility of using a CSA model to increase patients’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. In large research studies, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables has been linked to lower risk of certain cancers.
    “The food system and the health system have so much to gain from working together, but right now they are behaving like independent systems,” said Mike Wenrick, executive director of Zenger Farm. “We really believe that through this program we can improve population health, we can drive health care investment into our local food systems and hopefully we can save the healthcare industry money through the billions of dollars they are losing every year on diet-related chronic disease.”
    Organizations with funded projects are connected with a variety of additional resources, including nationally based training designed to increase their capacity and knowledge for implementing evidence-based programs, networking opportunities with other organizations, and potential partners and consultation on program evaluation.

    Health Care Stories Salem Health grants $50,000 to Boys and Girls Club program to fight obesity

    Salem Health presented a $50,000 Community Partnership Grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties. Grant funds will be used to hire a full-time coordinator for the Triple Play initiative – an initiative to encourage healthy and active lifestyles among youth. Salem Health introduced the Community Partnership Grant program in Oct. 2014 and will grant a total of $306,382 in 2017. Successful initiatives improve the quality of life for those most at risk in the Salem community and decrease the need for catastrophic care and its associated social, emotional and economic costs.

    “Triple Play is a multi-faceted program promoting wellness for Club members, ages 6-18. Kids learn how eating smart, keeping fit and forming positive relationships add up to a healthy lifestyle,” said Kyle Buse, Athletics Director of Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties. “The support of Salem Health ensures that we can offer this important program at all Clubs in Salem, Keizer and Woodburn.”

    For over 46 years, Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties has provided youth with support to reach their full potential. Through a comprehensive range of services, it sets up children and teens for success by preparing them with the essential life, academic and career-related skills to succeed.

    “One of the key goals of the community partnership grants is to improve the quality of life for those most at risk in our community,” said Sharon Heuer, Director of Community Benefit at Salem Health. “We know that Triple Play will help kids in need learn how to take better care of themselves, and we’re excited to partner with Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties to help make the program a reality in our community.”

    Health Care Stories: High School Art Students Create Murals for Good Shepherd Health Care System

    Some believe there is a direct connection between art and healing. The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale is quoted as saying, “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the object presented to patients are an actual means of recovery,”

    This quote is something that Good Shepherd Health Care System Wound Care and IV Therapy Manager, Vicki Horneck believes wholeheartedly in. When Vicki was presented with an opportunity to feature artwork created by students at Echo High School, she enthusiastically agreed. According to Echo High School art teacher, Rick Thew, the student-created depict the seasons in the lifecycle of a tree – Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The vibrant colors represent the tree through those seasons as it is silhouetted against those colors.

    “So far, the artwork has been a conversation starter between patients and our staff. The colors arevibrant and make for a more cheerful and healing environment. We are thankful for the students and their thoughtfulness and generosity in providing us with their works of art,” exuberated Ms. Horneck.

    Good Shepherd Health Care System provides Wound Care and IV Therapy services for patients experiencing wounds that have been difficult to heal and infusion and injection procedures.

    FAQ: What exactly is community benefit?

    School nurse programs. Free hospital care for the poor. Early cancer detection screening programs. Food pantries. What do these things all have in common? Each of these programs are funded thanks to community benefit funding provided by Oregon community hospitals.
    You may have heard the term “community benefit” used when discussing certain programs provided by Oregon hospitals. What does this mean? Community benefit refers to health care-related services that Oregon’s nonprofit hospitals
    provide – with little or no compensation – to address critical health needs in the community.
    Providing quality health care doesn’t end when a patient leaves the hospital. Much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office – in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Each day, Oregon’s community hospitals voluntarily provide programs and services beyond caring for the sick and injured. These free programs help strengthen and improve quality of life for residents along with managing the unique health needs found within each Oregon community.
    Community benefit helps bring hundreds of valuable programs, screenings and medical personnel to communities across the state of Oregon. Learn more about some of these great programs on our Community Impact page.