CHICAGO, January 24, 2012 - In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center (MAHHC) in Windsor, Vt., is the recipient of the 2011 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare.
Each year, this $100,000 prize is presented to a healthcare organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust.
Named as finalists for this year's award and receiving $10,000 each are AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, N.J., Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C.
"Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center serves as a coalition-building catalyst within the community, bringing together local health and human service providers, educators, law enforcement officials, clergy, parents and consumers to collectively identify, plan and provide community health programs and services to area residents," said John O'Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. "The system's major initiatives focus on building a community health infrastructure, preventing substance abuse, providing access to care through a free clinic, connecting residents to social services and providing senior housing. Through such efforts, Mt. Ascutney demonstrates its commitment to pursuing the goals of health promotion and disease prevention, as well as the achievement of health and well-being for the community."
Founded in 1933, MAHHC successfully fosters local, state and national partnerships and developed initiatives that make a significant difference by addressing local health-related issues and building collaborative relationships within the community. In light of challenges faced by the largely rural local population, such as higher-than-average incidence of respiratory disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer of the respiratory systems; alarming rates of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect; and lack of adequate transportation to get to health resources, MAHHC founded its community outreach program in 1995 to proactively address these challenges through community health education and disease prevention activities. MAHHC's initiatives have not only resulted in impressive outcomes, but also have contributed to the rich tradition of mutual support between the community and the hospital.
"Receiving this award is a wonderful recognition of our long-standing commitment to improving the health and wellness of our community," said Kevin W. Donovan, CEO of MAHHC. "Our leadership, staff and program partners are committed to improving the lives of those we serve through traditional and non-traditional means for a healthcare organization. Using an array of educational programs that promote healthier living, we are measurably changing our community. It is important to note that our healthcare facility and its programs are integrated into the community with sustainability in mind. We want to make a positive impact immediately, of course, but we are focused on the future health of our community members, as well."
Among other programs, MAHHC was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:
- Community Health Infrastructure - MAHHC built collaborative relationships with local organizations to effectively tackle the problems of fragmented care and lack of centralized or easily accessible services affecting its community. The teamwork resulted in 14 health promotion and disease prevention programs covering issues such as substance abuse prevention, obesity prevention and nutrition and exercise, and included drug take-back activities and a prescription drug initiative.
- Substance Abuse Prevention Program - This initiative reaches out to students from the hospital's surrounding community with programs and campaigns to help strengthen families and guide good choices. The program has made significant progress in decreasing tobacco use among eighth graders and decreasing high risk behaviors of substance abuse among eighth through 12th grade students in four area communities.
- Windsor Community Health Clinic - This free clinic serves the healthcare and case management needs of the uninsured and under-insured, including assisting patients in applying for insurance and obtaining medication vouchers.
- Windsor Connection Resource Center - In the past, many people in need of care and other support services had difficulty obtaining transportation for the 30-44 mile round-trip journey to reach many provider agencies. The Windsor Connection Resource Center was created in 2002 to address this issue by consolidating health and human services, including drug and alcohol addiction programs, mental health services, housing assistance, adult education, transportation and crisis shelter services in order to maximize resources and increase access.
- Historic Homes of Runnemede (HHR) - This vibrant residential care and independent living campus combined a not-for-profit organization that offered licensed residential care with historic buildings in need of renovation. Through the collaboration, the organization has reached financial stability and produced programs including Meals on Wheels and a Respite and Hospice Program.
The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities. This year's winner and finalists offer a broad spectrum of programs to meet the needs of their vulnerable populations," said O'Brien. "By leading, supporting and collaborating, they enhance the lives of residents in the communities they serve."
Three Foster G. McGaw Prize finalists were also recognized for their significant accomplishments in community service. Each received a $10,000 prize:
- AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, N.J., for its diverse and far-reaching initiatives and services to promote wellness in southern New Jersey, including a school program to encourage healthy eating, physical activity and positive body image and a health center that offers free and reduced-fee healthcare to the homeless of Atlantic County.
- Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for engaging the local community to address and prevent health problems through initiatives such as its substance abuse coalition, as well as for its efforts to engage local youth through its program that exposes young students to science, technology, engineering and math to develop interest in science and health careers.
- Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C., for its comprehensive efforts as a healthcare resource for Richland and Lexington counties, including mental health services that provide counseling and housing assistance and an initiative to promote education for parents of children with asthma.
Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center is a not-for-profit community hospital located in Windsor, Vermont whose mission is to improve the lives of those it serves. The Hospital has a renowned inpatient rehabilitation unit, therapeutic pool, and physical therapy department as well as acute care, transitional care, hospice and skilled nursing care services. In addition to a strong primary care base in multiple locations, specialty services include dermatology, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, pediatrics, physical and occupational therapy, podiatry, psychology, rheumatology, urology and others.
The Foster G. McGaw Prize, celebrating more than 25 years of honoring excellence in community service, recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate commitment to community service through a range of programs that demonstrate a passion and continuous commitment to making communities healthier and more vital. The prize, first awarded in 1986, inspires hospitals, health systems and communities to assess and implement programs that improve their communities. For more information, visit www.aha.org/foster.
The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include almost 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks, other providers of care and 42,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at www.aha.org.
The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), helps organizations expand access to healthcare in the United States and around the world. The foundation, established in 1981, began to focus exclusively on increasing access to healthcare in 2002 - particularly for the disadvantaged and underserved - in communities where Baxter employees live and work. Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide. For more information, please visit www.baxter.com.
Founded in 1944, the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) is a private, not-for-profit organization involved in research, education and demonstration programs addressing health management and policy issues. An affiliate of the American Hospital Association, HRET collaborates with healthcare, government, academic, business and community organizations across the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that shape the future of healthcare. For more information about HRET, visit www.hret.org.