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Our Call to Serve - Hello Humankindness

Our Call to Serve – Hello Humankindness®

February 09, 2021 Posted in: Stories of Giving

At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we believe we have been called to serve. As a part of our communities, we know that goes beyond the health care we provide at our hospitals, clinics and provider offices.

We are proud of the work we do to keep our communities safe both inside and outside those walls. By educating future generations of health care providers, providing nutritious food programs for students and adults, teaching critical parenting skills and educating the community about important health care issues, we focus on the ways we can benefit our communities.

Through these programs and others, we are following our mission, guided by our vision, allowing us to live our values. As part of CommonSpirit Health, we remain committed to building healthier communities, advocating for those who are poor and vulnerable, and innovating how and where healing can happen — both inside our hospitals and out in the community.

We believe that is humankindness in action.

Learning About Health Care

Fourth grade students in Nelson County Schools had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to learn more about health care careers at Flaget Memorial Hospital. Through the Backpack Program, students were able to tour the hospital and begin designing a few projects in collaboration with their student body and Flaget leaders.

The program grew out of the Teacher Externship Program, a partnership with the hospital that invited teachers to tour the hospital and learn more about different career paths in health care as they educate their  students about possible future opportunities.

“As a community hospital, it’s our responsibility to participate in these types of programs,” said Jennifer Nolan, president, Flaget Memorial Hospital. “The staff got excited and really liked to show off their pride for their careers and the hospital. It was a win-win.”

Addressing Food Insecurity

During the past year, community health workers with CHI Saint Joseph Health provided nearly 5,000 pounds of food to at-risk households across central and eastern Kentucky. CHI Saint Joseph Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment revealed food insecurity as a prevalent cause for poor health outcomes for patients in those areas. With the Total Health Roadmap initiative, funded through a grant from CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations, community health workers partnered with God’s Pantry Food Bank to provide an emergency food supply box to patients who are food insecure.

“Our community health workers are incredible at identifying our patients’ needs,” said Barbara Baumgardner, community health coordinator, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “The results have been amazing, from the solutions they’ve found to get people where they need to be, to providing them with emergency food boxes and connecting them to resources.”

Filling the Education Gap

The summer of 2020 brought unique challenges for students who needed extra help during the break, especially with the school year going virtual at the end of the last school year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program to change course.

In partnership with Consolidated Baptist Church, the CHI Saint Joseph Health Violence Prevention Program in Lexington offered virtual classes and activities via Zoom. The Violence Prevention Program was funded through a grant from the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation.

“Our grant focuses on creating healthy, safe communities in Lexington,” said Hannah Woggon, violence prevention coordinator, CHI Saint Joseph Health Lexington.

CHI Saint Joseph Health also provided supplies to build activity packs for students. Everything they needed to follow along with interactive science experiments, cross-stitching lessons, and critical curriculum in math, science and literature was included.

“With a concentration on two neighborhoods, we had it in our grant to create a summer camp, but we decided to partner with the Consolidated Summer Enrichment Program instead of designing a new camp,” Woggon added.

Feeding the Needs of Children

During the summer of 2020, Saint Joseph Berea community health advocates Christy Begley and Emilee Hood teamed up with Berea Kids Eat and Berea Independent School System to pack more than 200,000 meals to feed children from the community. With 30 percent of area children living below poverty level and as many as one in five children experiencing hunger, the Berea Summer Food Service Program provides nutritious breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks to students as part of the ongoing solution to battle food insecurity and childhood hunger.

The partnership connects Saint Joseph Berea’s community health advocates with families in the area who are in need of other programs offered through grants from Saint Joseph Berea Foundation.

“We treat people physically, but so many people’s needs go deeper than just the cut on their hand or the bellyache or headache they have. Our goal is to find and treat all underlying needs,” said Christy Begley, community health advocate – Saint Joseph Berea.

Nurturing Parents to Better Care for Children

Since its inception in 2016, the Nurturing Children Program at Saint Joseph London has worked to empower parents with skills to reduce the incidence of abuse and neglect. It uses the evidence-based Nurturing Parenting Program to educate parents and community members and to establish intolerance of abuse and neglect as the norm through behavior modification.

With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down in-person gatherings, the program moved to the virtual platform in mid-2020.

“What I like to tell our parents [who say] ‘I’m a parent. I don’t need parenting education,’ is that our education course takes you back to the basics of parenting. It allows you to forget all of the negative parenting you’ve learned and pass down the good things you’ve learned to your children,” said Mollie Harris, violence prevention coordinator, Nurturing Children Program, Saint Joseph London.

Working Together for a Healthier Community

In early 2020, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling joined with the Montgomery County Health Department and Sterling Health Care to develop public service announcement (PSA) radio spots aimed at educating the community about important health topics. Their theme: Working Together for a Healthier Community. CHI Saint Joseph Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment indicated a need to provide more health information in the community.

WMST radio station in Mount Sterling offered the 60-second spots, which are aired multiple times each day. The topics are relevant to the types of health issues Montgomery County residents are facing in their everyday lives and raise awareness of significant issues in health care in the area.

“We try to be relevant with information. We try to tie it into what is going on in people’s everyday lives … what might be significant to them to be thinking about for their health care needs,” said Sister Janet Carr, chaplain, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and a member of the PSA team. “We are doing this for the health of the community.”

To learn more about these programs, read our 2020 Community Benefit report.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

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