With the gap for health disparities widening both locally and nationally, the three healthcare systems that form Fostering Healthy Communities – Mercy Health, ProMedica and the University of Toledo Medical Center – pledged to look beyond their individual hospital walls and partnered to improve the health of Toledo area residents. Working through the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO), Fostering Healthy Communities has leveraged more than $30 million for residents of Lucas County and northwest Ohio since 1999.
This generosity is the result of both charitable donations and grants secured for community health improvement projects. Fostering Healthy Communities has utilized collective impact to address tobacco control, disaster preparedness, trauma care, electronic health records, healthcare access, bullying, infant mortality, chronic diseases, opioids, lead paint and other population health concerns.
Fostering Healthy Communities helps support Healthy Lucas County, a community health improvement collaboration coordinated by HCNO. Healthy Lucas County started performing community health assessments for adults in 1999 and youth in 2005. These assessments now are combined and performed triennially with financial and volunteer support from Fostering Healthy Communities.
Lucas County community health assessments have helped determine those needing the most help – low-income and minority residents in urban Toledo neighborhoods – and their main health-related concerns. Among these concerns are high rates of infant mortality, especially among Black women, and chronic diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
Central to the population health strategies utilized by Fostering Healthy Communities are financial support of and participation in the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB, a clinical-community linkages system coordinated by HCNO. In concert with this care coordination is Fostering Healthy Communities members’ financial and volunteer support of Toledo/Lucas County CareNet, which provides healthcare access to low-income residents and operates a charity care network. Additionally, CareNet’s community health workers provide care coordination through the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB and are application counselors for residents seeking medical coverage.