AHA recognizes hospitals in the community

July 15, 2022

The American Hospital Association announced that it will honor five programs with the AHA Dick Davidson NOVA Award for their hospital-led collaborative efforts that will improve community health.

The winning programs are the Continuous Care Program, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center at Broward Health, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The Doorway, Cheshire Medical Center, Keene, N.H.; Community Connect, Children's Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul; Monterey County Diabetes Collaborative, Salinas Valley Memorial Health Care System, Salinas, Calif., and Montage Health, Monterey, Calif.; and the School Blue Envelope Suicide Prevention Program, Spectrum Health West Michigan, Grand Rapids, Mich.

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. This year’s recipients will be recognized at the AHA Leadership Summit July 17-19 in San Diego.

“This year’s Dick Davidson NOVA award honorees are leading with innovative and collaborative programs to address many of our nation’s most pressing health challenges,” said Rick Pollack, AHA’s president and CEO. “Working together these hospitals and health systems are creating healthier communities and increasing well-being for their neighbors.”

The 2022 winning programs and hospital partners are:

Continuous Care Program

Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center at Broward Health, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Continuous Care Program serves women, infants, children and youth with complex medical conditions, dental care, care coordination, health education and other services, regardless of their ability to pay. Among the program’s partners are Broward Healthy Start, which administers developmental screening and refers children to the Early Steps Program; the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which refers any child with an active child protective case to early intervention services; Broward House, which refers HIV positive and negative clients with substance use disorders; and Career Source Broward, which links clients to educational and vocational training. Even while experiencing stay-at-home orders and social distancing for the vulnerable populations during COVID-19, the Continuous Care Program maintained and increased access to care by staying open for limited in-person visits, adapting programs to a virtual platform, offering telehealth kits and operating emergency response programs.

The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center

Cheshire Medical Center, Keene, N.H.

The Doorway at Cheshire Medical Center provides screening, evaluation, treatment and peer recovery support services for those with a substance use disorder. It also offers information about substance use disorders, prevention resources and supportive services to assist in long-term recovery and advocates for treatment and services for people with SUDs. The program accepts walk-ins and offers appointments and group sessions. The Doorway staff also will go to an emergency department or a hospital’s in-patient unit to meet with a patient interested in treatment. The program’s partners include Monadnock Family Services, Monadnock United Way, the Cheshire County Drug Court, Grand Monadnock Rotary Club and Phoenix House. By keeping the "doorway" open at Cheshire Medical Center as well as going outside to speak to a person who may be hesitant to come inside, lives were saved and lifestyles were changed.

Community Connect

Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Children’s Minnesota’s Community Connect program uses well-child visits at primary care clinics to identify unmet health-related social needs, provide responsive community resources and engage in ongoing case management services to help foster the conditions where kids can thrive. The program was created to address the more than 80% of a child’s health that is tied to where they live, learn and play. Positive screening responses during a visit trigger real-time referrals to resource navigators who tap into the program’s network of community partners, create system-to-system connections and reduce barriers to accessing services. The program addresses the broader social determinants of health, connecting families to essential community resources, including food pantries, benefit programs, transportation services, legal assistance, housing support, early childhood education programs and more. Since Community Connect launched in 2017, and through May 2022, almost 45,000 patients have been screened for health-related social needs, and more than 8,500 families have enrolled in the program.

Monterey County Diabetes Collaborative

Salinas Valley Memorial Health Care System, Salinas, Calif., and Montage Health, Monterey, Calif.

The Monterey County Diabetes Collaborative aims to reduce type 2 diabetes in an ethnically diverse Central Coast region of California known for its breathtaking beauty, tourism and produce production. Monterey County also faces a health threat where 1-in-8 people have diabetes, and half of all adults have prediabetes, including the predominantly Hispanic agricultural work force. Two competing health systems with a history of collaboration took on the diabetes crisis by launching the Collaborative focused on awareness, screening, workshops, education and free customized wellness coaching for adults and children. The innovative initiative also builds on another co-sponsored program, Blue Zones Project Monterey County, bringing together schools, restaurants, faith-based organizations and policy makers to reach people where they live, work and play. Public and private entities are helping to fulfill the Collaborative vision by creating walking paths, community gardens and vegetable-centric menu options to effectively lower diabetes rates in Monterey County and on the Central Coast.

School Blue Envelope Suicide Prevention Program

Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The School Blue Envelope Suicide Prevention Program is a comprehensive, school-based, suicide prevention and crisis response program developed by Spectrum Health and shared with 70 schools in 20 school districts throughout the 16-county West Michigan service area. Based on the original Blue Envelope program in health care, the words “blue envelope” activate a team safety response to address suicide prevention within the school setting. The program is built on “S.A.F.E.” steps, which stands for Stay with the student, Access help, Feelings: Validate them and Eliminate lethal risk, specifically for those moments when school personnel learn that a student has thoughts of suicide. It aims to decrease stigma in talking about suicide, improve school faculty confidence in responding to students with mental health crises, and increase preventive interactions with school-aged youth. It also promotes the idea that suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility and offers training to teachers and principals as well as bus drivers, food service workers and administrative support staff, who are typically left out of other mental health professional development programs. S.A.F.E. helps recognize opportunities for preventive conversations and early interventions before a tragedy occurs, which Spectrum Health hopes to establish within 40 school districts by the end of next summer.

AHA release