Champions of Change Blog
- Posted byon September 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM EST
Andrea Hays is being honored as a Champion of Change for helping Americans live healthier lives, reduce disease and contribute to lowering health care costs by focusing communities on public health and prevention.
As a child, I looked forward to visiting my grandparents every weekend because I could walk everywhere with Grandma – to the Church, playground, grocery store, post office and even the library.
As I work on obesity prevention efforts in Evansville, Indiana, I’m reminded of those days where walking was easy and accessible. Those of us focused on the area of active living often cite the positive health impact of having more walkable and bikeable communities. Yet, we know it adds up to benefits beyond increasing physical activity among our residents. Communities that embrace this notion of physical activity also place a high value on, well, community.
That is, having more people out on the street, interacting and getting to know one another creates a sense of togetherness and inspires innovation in other areas. The increase of nature play spaces, outdoor classrooms, community gardens, and farmers markets has motivated a new way of thinking in our community – one that embraces all of our residents.
These efforts are aligned with a growing evidence base that shows if we create a more supportive community environment that promotes healthy living where we live, learn, work, worship, and play, people will begin to thrive and our neighborhoods will come alive. Most important, people will see improved health outcomes and a higher quality of life.
It is easy to forget that the three leading causes of preventable death in the United States are tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity. While these causes are lifestyle related, it is important to note that access and opportunity play a huge role in our residents’ ability to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The Healthy Communities Partnership of Southwest Indiana (HCP) is a collaborative process catalyzed by the Welborn Baptist Foundation over five years ago. We also have recently received funding from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund’s Community Transformation Grant.
Created by the Affordable Care Act, the Community Transformation Grant Program focuses on key public health and prevention goals, including tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, and clinical and community preventive services. With Affordable Care Act funding, the Healthy Communities Partnership of Southwest Indiana aims to improve the health of Southwest Indiana residents.
We are working to impact our region’s health through targeted strategies across the lifespan. These efforts start as early as newborns through the Baby Friendly initiative in two hospitals to utilizing a coaching model that helps low-income and medically underserved older adult patients monitor their chronic conditions at home. In addition to our settings based work, we are helping to increase access to healthy foods across our seven county area.
We can continue to accomplish health improvements through cross-sectoral partnerships that create opportunities to support tobacco-free living, healthy weight, and preventing chronic disease across the lifespan.
Andrea Hays is the Director of the move∙ment Initiative and the Upgrade campaign at the Welborn Baptist Foundation in Evansville, Indiana. These programs promote changes in the community that make healthy living easier for all residents.
- Posted byon September 9, 2013 at 12:22 PM EST
Erica Washington is being honored as a Champion of Change for helping Americans live healthier lives, reduce disease and contribute to lowering health care costs by focusing communities on public health and prevention.
To some consumers, “shared responsibility” in the treatment process may connote only the actions of physicians with their patients; however, “shared responsibility” in the realm of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) is much more. It’s the responsibility of all professionals in any healthcare setting – whether doctors, nurses, or administrative leadership – to take an active role in ensuring that preventable conditions do not impede patient care. Patient safety has thus increased by having all persons in healthcare delivery take an active role in infection prevention.
As the HAI Coordinator for Louisiana, working in the Louisiana Office of Public Health, I have been able to synthesize Epidemiology with infection control in our state’s acute care, long-term acute care, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. These prevention measures include using CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) as a surveillance tool to readily identify HAI as well as produce statistics for the purposes of prevention. With invaluable investments from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, Louisiana is able to celebrate low rates of infections such as central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) and we will continue to work toward a zero infection goal. Funding from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund is helping public health and health care leaders implement strategies to prevent healthcare-associated infections and improve the health and well-being of all Americans.
The success of the Louisiana HAI program is achieved by creating a symbiotic relationship between key stakeholders in patient safety such at the Louisiana Hospital Association, eQHealth Solutions (the state Medicare quality improvement organization), and our Consumer’s Right to Know Coalition. Additionally, our state has created prevention collaborative cohorts that focus on reducing infections by facilitating evidence-based prevention information exchanges between facilities and enhancing infection prevention education.
I am also fortunate to have the support of Association for Infection Prevention and Epidemiology (APIC) in Louisiana’s efforts to push toward zero infections. APIC has brought world-renowned leaders in HAI such as Dr. William Jarvis and Dr. Richard Wenzel to Louisiana to educate our infection preventionists and present evidence-based findings that may be incorporated into our patients’ scope of treatment.
Patients play a role in HAI prevention as well. Through working with other states to share and exchange information on the prevention of HAI, I was especially pleased to see consumer involvement in HAI awareness. By recognizing their role as stakeholders and advocates for safety, consumers have become more attentive to care provider actions, such as hand washing, environmental needs, and speaking up during their care plans if they notice actions that could lead to infections.
On any level of healthcare, whether delivery or administration, patient safety and infection control should be at the forefront of every action so that preventable conditions do not impede patient care. By working with stakeholders and consumers, we will achieve our zero infection goal.
Erica Washington is the Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Coordinator for the State of Louisiana and implemented the first state-based National Healthcare Safety Network Data Use Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will improve the Louisiana’s ability to track and prevent healthcare-associated infections.
- Posted byon September 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM EST
Janine Janosky, PhD. is being honored as a Champion of Change for helping Americans live healthier lives, reduce disease and contribute to lowering health care costs by focusing communities on public health and prevention.
I am Vice President at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) and head the Center for Community Health Improvement. I lead a multi-institution collaboration known as the Accountable Care Community (ACC). It expands the concept of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). This ACC initiative positively impacts the health of the local community and serves as a national model for collaborative, integrated, multi-institutional approach that emphasizes shared responsibility for the health of the entire community.
Our Accountable Care Community initiative is supported through a Community Transformation Grant from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The Community Transformation Grant program, created by the health care law, supports innovative community-level efforts to collaborate to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Through the ACC, we have been successful in improving the health of those in our community by promoting healthier lifestyles through disease prevention and health promotion, reducing chronic disease, increasing access, and improving health equity. The ACC impacts population health by lessening the burden of disease, thus reducing health costs, and improving lives. One of the first ACC public health efforts was to zero in on diabetes since approximately 11 percent of adults in Akron have diabetes. In just 18 months we are already seeing positive result from the programs: More than half of participants lost weight, decreased body mass index (BMI), and reduced waist size; the average cost per month of care for individuals with diabetes was reduced by more than 10 percent per month, saving the program $3,185 per person annually; and we saw a drop in diabetes-related Emergency Department visits.
The multi-institutional partners within the ACC are diverse and include Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Summa Health System, The University of Akron, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summit County Public Health, Community Legal Aid, Akron Metropolitan Housing Association, Akron Public Library, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, United Way, Akron Urban League, and over 60 other community organizations, institutions, and agencies. The ACC framework improves population health through community and practice-based interventions for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and care management for chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and others.
The ACC serves as a national model by providing and managing health and patient care across different institutions, expanding the efficiency of budgets and resource needs and uses while creating methods to monitor and evaluate health and performance indicators. The ACC is aligned with the integration of public health and healthcare, namely the movement toward population health.
Janine Janosky, Ph.D., serves as Vice President and Senior Fellow for the Center for Community Health Improvement at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, Ohio. The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) is leading a community-based integrated health and wellness initiative.
Nominate a White House Champion of Change: Veterans on the Front Lines of Advancing Clean Energy and Climate SecurityPosted byon August 16, 2013 at 8:52 AM EST
In answering our nation’s call to service, America’s veterans understand the challenges of energy availability and the threats of a changing climate on the safety and effectiveness of our troops and our national security. From the dangers and logistical challenges of transporting vital energy supplies, to concerns of natural resource scarcity, these heroes have been on the front lines dealing with the security implications of a changing climate.
Upon returning home from service, many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have continued to serve, using their specialized skills and experiences to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy, make communities more resilient to the effects of climate change, and improve our nation’s energy security. In his Climate Action Plan, the President emphasized that failing to address climate change will threaten millions of people around the world and increase security risks. Improving preparedness and promoting energy independence helps strengthen national security and makes our troops and communities safer.
In early October, which the President designated “Energy Action Month”, the White House will recognize “Champions of Change” – Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are leading communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. We need your help to identify these veterans and recognize their extraordinary efforts. Champions may be veterans who are:
- Entrepreneurs working to implement technologies or techniques for clean energy, energy efficiency, or other new approaches to combat climate change
- Professionals working to make military bases, cities, or other communities resilient to extreme weather or sea level rise
- Businesspeople finding solutions that make communities energy independent and create jobs in clean energy
Help us recognize veterans who are leading and educating their communities on solutions to combat climate change. Click here to nominate a Champion of Change today! After following the link, select "Veterans in Clean Energy and Climate Security" as your nomination category. Please submit nominations by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, September 4th. We look forward to hearing from you!
Rohan Patel is the Associate Director for Public Engagement at the Council on Environmental Quality
- Posted byon August 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM EST
Desiree Moore is being honored as a Champion of Change for embodying the next generation of leadership within the disability community and her commitment to the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I’m honored to be a White House Champion of Change.
My name is Desiree Moore, and I grew up in Long Island, New York. My motivation to get involved in my community stemmed from a need to find something positive in the challenges of life.
I entered the foster care system in 2007, and I was facing so many changes at that time. I really felt myself wanting to give up. Being introduced to advocacy and learning to advocate for myself, gave me hope and inspired me to help others. Oftentimes when we go through different challenges we lose hope. Through sharing my story and overcoming personal adversity, my goal is to spread hope and help others to do the same.
The year 2010 was a great year for me.I was awarded Outstanding Youth Advocate of the year, and several months after I was offered the Long Island Regional Partner position with YOUTH POWER!YOUTH POWER! is a New York statewide network for young people who have disabilities and cross systems experience.
Through my role as a Regional Youth Partner, I have partnered with a Children’s Psychiatric Hospital to create a youth advisory council where the young people are afforded an opportunity to express areas of appreciation and areas that needed improvements. When youth have input in all services they receive it ensures that their needs are being met and that administration knows how their programs are being delivered. I also had an opportunity to work with a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls with mental health challenges to create a place for them to receive support just from their peers. I have also worked with this group to help them sustain their peer support group. YOUTH POWER! participates in New York State’s deinstitutionalization efforts but we feel it’s important for youth to have a voice and hope wherever they are.
In addition, my team and I created a presentation called “Spreading Hope Through Sharing Our Stories” to empower young people and let them know there is hope.We focus on raising disability awareness, breaking down stigma and speaking the truth about what it is like to be in the system.This presentation has inspired many young people to not give up and showed them they are not alone.
When I’m not working directly with other young people I serve on government and community committees to bring youth voice to the table. I’m currently in college majoring in event management. I aspire to become an event planner, and plan to donate a percentage of my profits to develop a program to acknowledge and celebrate birthdays for children in foster care. There have been many young people whose birthdays have been forgotten in foster care. I want to change that.
Thank you for recognizing my work, and for giving me an opportunity to share my heart with you. To me, being a Champion Change means that despite life’s challenges, aim high, be the best you can possibly be, and help others along the way.
Desiree is a leader working at YOUTH POWER!.
- Posted byon August 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM EST
Anupa Iyer is being honored as a Champion of Change for embodying the next generation of leadership within the disability community and her commitment to the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Anorexic/Bulimic…Suicidal…Bi-polar…Institutionalized. These words don’t typically describe a Champion of Change, but they describe me. And these words describe countless others in our society who have a psychiatric disability but are too afraid to come out of the shadows and be themselves.
Because of social stigma, too many people who suffer from mental illness feel alone, powerless, and hopeless.
As I got better, I found reintegrating into society by working and living independently was not easy. I was unable to honestly explain the gaps on my resume to potential employers because I was afraid I wouldn’t get the job. When I did disclose to get an accommodation, my colleagues found out and started teasing me.
My experiences led me to discover, albeit the hard way, that the voices of individuals with mental illness have been quelled because of the stigma that society has placed on the disease. It motivated me to pursue a law degree.
I realized that in order to end the stigma around mental illness, people need to start sharing their lived experiences with psychiatric disabilities. We need to become strong self-advocates. I started talking about my mental illness in public forums to educate society members and policy makers about the issues people with psychiatric disabilities face. Recently, I started Self Advocates Now Empowered- to encourage others with psychiatric disabilities to be open about their disability and get engaged in legislative advocacy. While Self Advocates Now Empowered is still in its initial stages of development, I hope that by being a Champion for Change other people, particularly young adults with psychiatric disabilities will want to get involved, and thereby change the governing conversation around mental illness.
Stigma exists because people with psychiatric disabilities don’t challenge the misconceptions around mental illness. I hope to change that.
Anupa Iyer is the Founder of Self Advocates Now Empowered (SANE).
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