The nonprofit Access Tuscarawas collaborative has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the CareSource Foundation to expand its "Bridges to Wellness HUB" program that connects area residents to identified health and social services in Tuscarawas County.
The HUB model involves Community Health Workers making in-home visits to area families, reviewing and assessing their current needs for healthcare and social services, and assisting with scheduling appointments, completing required documents and forms, and other tasks.
Sarah Endlich, Bridges to Wellness HUB Director, said the grant money will be used to train a new Community Health Worker, purchase the software and equipment used by the new employee and provide a $500 incentive to any agency in Tuscarawas County that will employ a Community Health Worker as part of the Bridges to Wellness HUB.
"By utilizing Community Health Workers in the HUB, new local employment positions are created, existing community resources are used efficiently and effectively and the potential to maximize community partnerships by entering into a relationship with Bridges to Wellness is positive," Endlich said.
Bridges to Wellness HUB connects individuals to the services in the county to remove social and medical barriers and create positive outcomes for each family. A Community Health Worker provides community-based services to the families within their homes to increases family participation and allow the CHW to build a rapport with clients in a familiar setting.
"Throughout Tuscarawas County, many individuals are suffering because they are unable to access healthcare," Endlich said." Through our secure communication and accountability and with continued support from the agencies in our community, the impact that Bridges to Wellness HUB could have is limitless."
Working to improve health outcomes requires more than access to medical care, it encompasses behavioral health, as well as social, environmental and educational factors, which are known as social determinants of health, Endlich said.
All of these factors must be addressed in a holistic and comprehensive manner in order to improve health for an individual or a population. Some risk factors are addressed at the individual level: housing, pregnancy assistance, smoking cessation, insurance, medical home, family planning, access to medication, transportation, dental, employment, adult education, and evidence-based parenting instruction, Endlich said. For each of these issues there are specific evidence-based and best practice interventions available that can address the risk factor.
Bridges to Wellness HUB pilot program focuses on pregnant women with Medicaid insurance who have barriers in their lives and women of child-bearing age struggling with recent or current opiate addiction. In its first 13 months, the program has served 62 families who met the parameters of the pilot program and continue to accept referrals from anyone in the county. Bridges to Wellness also is developing plans for expansion into Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey and Muskingum counties.
Access Tuscarawas involves a voluntary collaborative of 23 area healthcare, education and social services agencies to provide a common resource for area residents seeking services.
For more information about Bridges to Wellness HUB and Access Tuscarawas, visit https://www.accesstusc.org/bridges-to-wellness or contact Sarah Endlich at 330-308-3591.