Ministry Health Care Announces Care Fund Awards for 2008

MILWAUKEE, WI—Ministry Health Care recently announced the recipients of the Ministry Care Fund Awards for 2008. The Ministry Health Care Fund was created in 1998 as a means to provide financial support for innovative projects and programs for the poor and underserved. The Fund is one of many programs that Ministry employs to live out its Mission and Values.

By collaborating with other agencies and funding a portion of their operations, Ministry Health Care enhances the health and well being of people in many communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

For 2008 Ministry Health Care awarded grants totaling over $183,500. According to Cherrie Marti, Director of Mission Integration for Ministry, "Our purpose is to provide all organizations in our system, as well as community programs endorsed by our organizations, the opportunity to establish projects for the poor and vulnerable that they may not otherwise be funded. The projects must be designed to meet identified community need."

The focus of the funded projects is on the poor--the economically disadvantaged, and the materially deprived. "We strive to provide hands-on services and charity work, but also attempt to insure our proposals address issues surfaced in recent needs assessments, state health disparity data, or data illustrating an emerging need," said Nick Desien, President and CEO of Ministry.

Details regarding programs that were funded this year include the following.

Medication Management Therapy Program
Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, Wabasha, Minnesota

Studies find that 20% of the Medicare population has five or more chronic illnesses. A new model of medication therapy management utilizing clinical pharmacists with advanced training can reduce drug therapy problems.

Fox Cities Oral Health Expansion
Fox Cities Community Health Center, Menasha, Wisconsin

The Fox Cities Community Health Center will expand their dental care services focusing on reaching a projected 800 low income children and their families serving approximately 150 new dental patients, all of whom live below 200% of the poverty level.

Medication Assistance Program – Site Advocate Assistance
Ministry Medical Group – Central Region, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

The Medication Assistance Program helps patients receive free or low cost medications from the pharmaceutical companies. The current patient base is 1,000 and patient need is expected to increase. Additional staff will allow expanded clinic hours not only at the primary site but also in the rural, off-site clinics.

Northwoods 2-1-1 (2nd year)
Family Resource Connection, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

The focus of the 2-1-1 system is to provide the public with a single point of contact for social services and public health questions. Sixty percent of the questions to this information and Referral program were seeking financial resources – Food, fuel assistance and affordable health care in 2007.

Communities United in Education
Communities United in Education, Cornell, Wisconsin

The families of the Cornell and Lake Holcombe school district experience high rates of poverty and a population of limited academic achievements. These programs aim to strengthen families and students through family awareness and training to handle risk behaviors.

The Northwoods Dental Project (2nd year)
Vilas and Oneida County Public Health Departments, Wisconsin

Vilas and Oneida counties have been federally designated as a Dental Health Provider Shortage Area. Recent oral health surveys identified that children living in these counties have higher rate of dental decay and caries history, lower sealant rate compared to other Wisconsin children. This grant will continue oral health preventative programs delivered at outreach sites such as food pantries.

Open Door Dental Clinic (2nd year)
Door County Memorial Hospital Foundation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

The Open Door Dental Clinic has been the only facility providing no cost dental services to low income children (ages 3-18) living in Door and Kewaunee Counties. The clinic is staffed by volunteers and a employed dentist. In 2007, 90% of Head Start children were seen at the clinic for their first oral health report and check for dental caries. Funding will assist with purchasing supplies and providing sealant programs.

Intercultural Leadership Initiative (2nd year)
Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin

Racial intolerance and cultural misunderstanding have strained community relations between American Indians and their neighbors in northern Wisconsin. The effects have resulted in American Indians failing academically and socially disproportionately higher than the general population. The Intercultural Leadership Initiative program hopes to promote cultural tolerance through inter-cultural experiences within the local schools. These experiential learning techniques, games, talking circles, creative drama, role-playing and service learning projects hope to encourage a sense of community and healthy risk-taking to solve problems using High school students to mentor to younger students.

Strong Families From the Start
Agape Community Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This project will provide essential nurturing, parenting, supportive services, and self-care skills to young mothers and families especially those who are often a single head of household in an urban environment.

Treating Perinatal Depression Through In-Home Therapy (2nd year)
Marathon County Health Department, Wausau, Wisconsin

Women who live in poverty bear a disproportionate burden of prenatal and postpartum depression. Up to 285 of women living in poverty are affected (Perinatal Foundation). Depression is known to affect how a mother relates to her newborn, linking maternal depressed mood to a child's risk for cognitive and language delays and behavioral problems. Home visiting programs with an in-home therapy component is seen as a promising approach to address perinatal depression. For low income women, current access barriers such as transportation, child care, stigma associated with seeking services could be minimized. This program would focus on women whose families are at or below 185% of the poverty level.

Community Care Center
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Merrill, Wisconsin

St. Vincent de Paul received a gift of a building that is being developed Into a community social services center. The multi-use building will allow low-income individuals to come to one location for many services. This is a one-time renovation grant as it creates an infrastructure for the future.

Goals for Graduation
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, Appleton, Wisconsin

The Goals for Graduation program will serve 160 youth, all of whom are low-income, including many living below the poverty level. This supplemental learning opportunity aims to help children establish educational goals and increase their academic abilities, improve quantity and quality of homework, and increase school attendance rates.

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