Trinity Health on Monday announced the first six recipients of a five-year, $80 million program aimed at solving significant health challenges that can't be addressed by healthcare providers alone.
The Livonia, Mich.-based system's Transforming Communities Initiative is awarding grants, loans, community match dollars for a variety of community efforts with particular focus on providing healthier foods and more physical activity at schools, raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 and improving breastfeeding policies.
“A system can treat illness, but we need to bring in partnerships to create health,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, Trinity's senior vice president for safety net and community health at Trinity.
The ability to form multi-sector partnerships and raise matching dollars weighed heavily in selecting the recipients. The winners have already raised $5.5 million in matching funds, said Quentin Moore, Trinity's director of population health and disparities prevention.
One of the grant winners is Maywood, Ill.-based Proviso Partners for Health, a coalition working to curb childhood obesity in Chicago's western suburbs. The coalition includes Trinity-owned Loyola University Health System, its affiliated medical and nursing schools, the Cook County Public Health Department and Proviso East High School.
Drew Martin, executive director of Proviso Partners for Health, said solid partnerships and an understanding of a community's health needs must come before the funding.
Students at the high school in the partnership have grown 400 pounds of produce at a local garden, which is shared with an area soup kitchen, said Lena Hatchett, assistant professor and director of community and university partnerships at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The proviso partnership has also created jobs in the community.
“We want to build something that will last without funding,” Hatchett said. “If a garden can thrive, it will continue after the five years have gone by.”
The other recipients are:
Trenton (N.J.) Health Team (includes Trinity's St. Francis Medical Center)
Live Well Springfield (Mass.) TCI Partnership (includes Trinity's Mercy Medical Center)
Healthy Montgomery, Rockville, Md., (includes Trinity's Holy Cross Health in Silver Spring, Md.)
Promise Partnership, Boise, Idaho (includes Trinity's St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center)
Syracuse Health Coalition, Syracuse, N.Y. (includes Trinity's St. Joseph's Health)