Public Release: 

Trinity Health awards $2.5 million grant to Proviso Partners for Health

Loyola University Health System

MAYWOOD, Ill. - Proviso Partners for Health today announced it will receive $2.5 million in grants over five years from Trinity Health under Trinity's Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI), a program that will result in the investment of about $80 million in grants, loans, community match dollars and services for six communities.

"We are extremely grateful to Trinity Health for supporting the excellent work of Proviso Partners for Health," said Larry M. Goldberg, president and CEO, Loyola University Health System.

Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H) is a multi-sector coalition that formed in October, 2014 to advance action on childhood obesity in Chicago's near west suburbs.

PP4H is comprised of Loyola University Health System, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, as well as Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action, Proviso East High School, Quinn Community Center, Green Business Network and more than a dozen other community and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses. Chicago-area organizations such as Respiratory Health Association have also joined the effort and offered their support.

To date, the coalition has created 25 jobs, trained 32 students in sustainable agriculture, and grown 400 pounds of fresh produce at a community garden in Maywood. The food is then prepared at the Quinn Community Center soup kitchen. Partners have also leveraged resources to provide access to healthy food and programs to 150 children and teens.

"It's an incredible story of transformation," said Lena Hatchett, PhD, assistant professor and director of Community and University Partnerships at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "In one afternoon, the Proviso East High School students will harvest the produce, walk it over to Quinn, cook it and serve it at the soup kitchen. Farm-to-table healthy eating right here in our community."

Joanne Kouba, PhD, RDN, LDN, associate professor and director of dietetics education programs at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, has been working with PP4H and the Proviso Wellness Committee to bring healthy food choices to students at Proviso East High School. A successful "grab 'n' go" breakfast program led to this week's expansion to include salads at lunch.

"The healthy choice should be the easy choice, but in many communities the healthy choice is not an option or difficult at best," Kouba said. "The new refrigerated serving unit funded by PP4H makes the healthy choice fast, easy and fresh for hundreds of students every day."

Trinity Health's TCI grant will allow PP4H to renew its commitment to tackling obesity and expand initiatives aimed at reducing tobacco use - both of which are leading drivers of preventable chronic diseases and high healthcare costs in the United States.

Drew Martin, executive director of PP4H, said the TCI grant means having the financial resources to implement the vision.

"The purpose of PP4H is not just to improve the overall health of our area, but create a culture of health," Martin said. "Now we can build a path toward sustainability and create an inter-connectedness between communities and ethnic groups that has been lost in this area for years."

Recipients of Trinity Health's inaugural TCI grants will receive up to $500,000 per year for the next five years as well as a number of other supportive services, including technical, planning, and investment assistance. PP4H was awarded the full grant amount.

"The selected community partnerships have strong records transforming the health and well-being of their communities' most vulnerable populations already," said Bechara Choucair, MD, Trinity Health senior vice president for Safety Net and Community Health. "We know we are investing where change will occur."

A select list of strategies to be prioritized during phase one include:

  • Advocating for Tobacco 21 policies
  • Developing and implementing Complete Streets plans
  • Establishing nutrition and beverage standards and/or policies in Head Start programs, daycare centers and schools
  • Encouraging enhanced breast-feeding policies
  • Expanding physical activity in schools

While the program is slated for five years, program leaders have planned for long-term program sustainability by including plans for optimizing partnerships and leveraging local match dollars.

"We are excited to join PP4H and expand initiatives to reduce tobacco use," said Kate McMahon, senior director, Respiratory Health Association, which has committed its support to this program. "Together, our efforts will help prevent tobacco use, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and promote community health."

In addition to PP4H, the other TCI grant recipients are: Trenton Health Team, Trenton, N.J.; Live Well Springfield TCI Partnership, Springfield, Mass.; Healthy Montgomery, Silver Spring, Md.; Promise Partnership, Boise, Idaho; and Syracuse Health Coalition, Syracuse, N.Y.

Previously, PP4H received grants from Loyola University Health System, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

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