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Grants help health care

September 07, 2000

Grants help health care



By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - When the American Heart Association handed out 15 cardiac defibrillators to five area police departments last week, it was just one of a half dozen programs funded by the Summit Endowment to foster community health care outside of hospitals.

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"The real story is the accomplishments of the organizations that got funded," Lin Ace Hoskinson, the vice president for Development for Summit Health, said last week.

Earlier this year the endowment handed out grants totaling $167,419 to groups that "address health care more broadly than hospitals usually do," Hoskinson said.

The endowment was created three years ago with a $3 million contribution from Summit Health, which operates both Chambersburg and Waynesboro hospitals. Income from investments is distributed to qualified programs, Hoskinson said.

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The largest grant this year, $68,030, went to Wilson College's Health Ministries for a Diabetes Life Management System run in collaboration with Summit Health, according to endowment records.

Health Ministries Project Director Marilyn Ross said her group works with several thousand people in six congregations, promoting healthy lifestyles and management programs for those with existing health problems.

Ross said Monday 20 percent of those admitted at Waynesboro and Chambersburg hospitals are there because of diabetes or complications from the disease. Those complications include vascular problems that can lead to heart disease, blindness and amputations, she said.

Adult onset, or Type 2, diabetes is "a disease that does respond to lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise," Ross said.

Because of sedentary lifestyles, high calorie diets and genetic predisposition, she said up to 30 percent of the adult population in the United States is at risk for diabetes and people are getting it at younger ages.

Health Ministries' goal is to reach 250 people with individual management plans for diabetes and the grant will help pay for a nurse-educator to work with them. Others in the congregations will be encouraged to change diets, exercise more and make other changes to prevent the disease.

Hoskinson said Health Ministries has received funding in each of the last three years. Ross said she wants to help churches become institutions that meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

"People still aren't used to their churches being a place where health care is on the agenda," Ross said.

Financial Counseling Services and The House of Grace in Chambersburg are teaming up with the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service's Super Cupboards program for a nutritional education program, according to Hoskinson.

"It's designed to provide nutrition education, teaching how to stretch food bills and the planning and preparation of nutritious meals," Janet Johnston, director of The House of Grace, said recently. The Super Cupboards course runs about two months and several courses will be held in the next year thanks to an $8,000 grant from Summit Endowment.

About a dozen women at a time will take part in the courses, Johnston said. After each meal is prepared at the House of Grace, participants will be give a grocery bag with the same ingredients so they can prepare it at home.

"We provide child care while the mothers are here," Johnston said. "We want to make it as inviting as we possibly can," she said.

Another program benefiting from Summit Endowment is the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania. Hoskinson said it received $24,230 to expand its Pediatric Asthma Program in collaboration with Summit Health. The program works with students in elementary schools in Waynesboro and Chambersburg to help manage their asthma.

Big Brothers-Big Sisters of the Capitol Region received a $10,000 grant to expand its mentoring program in Franklin County, matching elementary school students with trained high school volunteers. Hoskinson said it is the second grant for Big Brothers-Big Sisters and the mentoring program is modeled after one that received a Points of Light Foundation award in another community.

New Visions Inc. was given $4,300 for its Compeer Program, matching recently discharged mental health patients with community volunteers. "The volunteers will assist them in the transition back to community life," Hoskinson said.

Hoskinson said the endowment looks for programs that are collaborative efforts between organizations. The endowment also expects measurable outcomes.

"We want to be able to tell that the programs funded by these grants are making a difference," she said. The deadline to apply for next year's grants is Jan. 31, 2001.

Reaching out to people before they need a hospital or see a doctor is one goal of the endowment. "Many of the organizations functioning within the community are already doing many things that are positively affecting community health," Hoskinson said.

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