INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University Health Foundation and IU Health Community Health have secured a grant of $2.5 million from the Indiana Department of Health to hire more community health workers to expand the Indiana WeCare program and iHeart collaborative, according to information published Oct. 19 on the IU Health website. WeCare is an evidence-based program aimed at reducing infant mortality and addressing longstanding health disparities. iHeart brings together medical, research and community engagement resources to reduce health inequities that contribute to heart disease and cardiovascular health.
“Community Health Workers are at the heart of why the WeCare and iHeart programs have shown such promising results,” said IU Health’s Vice President of Community Health Nichole Wilson. “CHWs connect residents to resources and knowledge helpful for managing and preventing diabetes, managing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and supporting high-risk pregnant women and new moms.”
As trusted and known members of the communities they serve, community health workers help to bridge health care gaps by screening people for social determinants of health needs and medical issues and directing them to resources and treatments. community health workers are especially important to our most vulnerable patients.
The new community health workers will assist people living in pockets of inequity found in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Madison, Marion and Tipton counties. The Community Health team plans to further expand the community health worker workforce throughout Indiana.
“We are grateful to the Indiana Department of Health for recognizing the value CHWs bring to underserved communities,” said Cassandra Tice, grants director at IU Health Foundation. “CHWs ensure that all community members have access to IU Health’s excellent care, supporting the IU Health vision to make Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states.”
An estimated 35 percent of women delivering babies at IU Health qualify for WeCare services because of high risk and need. By the end of the three-year grant period, IU Health projects that nearly 17,000 patients will benefit from the support of these new community health workers. Indiana underperforms nationally in cardiovascular disease-related conditions iHeart aims to address, including hypertension (ranked 36th), hyperlipidemia (30th), and obesity (40th).
To support the health care priorities important to your part of Indiana, contact IU Health Foundation’s regional philanthropy directors.