In communities all across this country, hospitals are leading thousands of local initiatives to improve the quality of life; using the resources of the hospital to expand the definition of health to be more than just the absence of illness – but to be a measure of the well being of people they serve. People making a difference for other people, one person at a time.
There are no better examples of these health care role models than our 2013 AHA NOVA Award winners. The story on the right spotlights one of those award winners, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI, and its use of community health workers to better serve those with heart failure and diabetes.
AHA NOVA Award winners address a wide range of important health initiatives, from developing culturally sensitive outreach and education programs for medically underserved minorities to increasing access to care for the uninsured. And each program is distinguished by the community partners who play such an important role in making them a reality.
The AHA created the NOVA awards in 1993 for two specific reasons. The first: to pay tribute to the bright stars in AHA’s membership who had taken on the challenge of going beyond caring for the ill and injured and were finding ways to help people live healthier, more productive lives. The second was to create a fund of ideas all of our members could draw on to do the same in their cities, towns and rural communities. In other words, find out what’s working where and share the knowledge with others.
The nominations the AHA receives for NOVA awards illustrate the many ways in which hospitals are building community coalitions to improve health status and deal with community problems. These partnerships create innovative programs that touch children, teens, seniors, the working poor and high-risk populations. They tell a compelling story of hospitals involved in their communities.
Interested in applying for a 2014 AHA NOVA Award? Applications are due Dec. 6. To apply, click on www.aha.org/nova.
NOVA award applicant or not, your hospital has an important story to tell about its commitment to mission and community. Make sure your community understands the many ways in which you work to make life better for those you serve. Tell your story … and tell it in a way that demonstrates the value and benefit you provide to your communities.