Jewish Healthcare Foundation Approves up to $2.1 Million in Grants

Pittsburgh, PA—The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) approved up to $2.1 million in grants, including support to strengthen behavioral health services and supports for teens, expand quality improvement education and training opportunities for community organizations, improve maternal and child health outcomes, develop new senior programming, and address health and human services needs within and beyond the Jewish community. 

Strengthening the Behavioral Health Safety Net for Teens, Families

JHF approved a two-year grant of up to $220,000 to support ongoing efforts to build a safety net from the bottom up for teens who are experiencing a mental health crisis, and to build resilience among teens with behavioral health needs through a community-wide initiative.

The goals of the initiative include increasing opportunities for teens, parents, and youth-serving professionals to learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health problems; training professionals in the community in Youth Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention; increasing peer supports for teens and families who are navigating the behavioral health system; and mobilizing community advocates to improve access to and accountability for effective behavioral health services for teens who are experiencing a crisis. The grant will support, among other components, a community planning event in early 2019 as well as a project coordinator position at the Jewish Community Center (JCC).

This local effort was inspired by We Need to Talk, a multi-pronged youth mental health initiative that was developed by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. We Need to Talk launched in 2016 to connect youth with mental health services and supports, reduce stigma, and increase resiliency through community education and awareness. The initiative was designed with broad community input, to ensure that it reflects the cultural, socioeconomic, and faith-based experiences of the individuals that it serves. JHF's 2019 planning event will align local stakeholders for a similar effort and build upon the lessons learned from the Detroit community.

The new grant advances JHF's Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative, which was launched in 2016. Through the initiative, JHF has engaged state and county leaders, mental health and substance use providers, social service representatives, family and patient advocates, educators, health plan representatives, nonprofit leaders, and researchers. With the guidance of these stakeholders, JHF has developed a policy agenda for strengthening the teen behavioral health safety net that includes expanding certified community behavioral health clinics and first-episode psychosis Centers of Excellence, certifying and reimbursing youth a family peer support specialists, and improving access to treatment by increasing reimbursement for behavioral health services.

The new grant also advances some of the key recommendations from JHF's Youth Advocacy Summit, which was held in November of 2018 in partnership with local teen-serving organizations and school districts. During the summit, more than 30 high school-aged youth and more than 35 youth advisors voiced their concerns and aspirations related to teen mental health through breakout discussions and a Q&A with civic, human service, and educational leaders.

Perfecting Performance and Care at Community Organizations

JHF approved a two-year grant of up to $500,000 to support new and ongoing training, coaching, and educational initiatives at various community organizations. These initiatives include quality improvement training and coaching for frontline providers and administrative staff at the JCC and the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA), as well as region-wide offerings related to strengthening the skills of community health workers (an emerging workforce role), creating dementia-friendly organizations, and improving end-of-life care and communication. The Foundation will explore partnerships with LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) programs, Area Agencies on Aging, AARP, and Familylinks, among other organizations.

For more than 20 years, JHF and its supporting organizations have developed, tested, and delivered curriculum to advance the skills of frontline healthcare workers in acute, long-term, and community settings, as well as for graduate healthcare students. More than 10,000 people from around the globe have been trained in Perfecting Patient CareSM, the Foundation's signature quality improvement methodology to increase healthcare safety, quality, and reliability.

The Foundation has adapted its training and coaching to meet the unique needs of each organization, and has expanded its quality improvement work into community-based settings that play a significant role in improving the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the individuals that they serve. JHF's new grant will advance its work to create a healthier community by bolstering the knowledge and skills of frontline workers, managers, caregivers, and consumers.

Realizing the Vision: Senior Connections Phase Two

JHF approved a one-year grant of up to $75,000 for strategic planning related to Senior Connections, an initiative to strengthen a suite of service opportunities for older adults in western Pennsylvania and beyond. These services include transportation and housing, exercise and recreation, geriatric-friendly health care, nutrition, and caregiver supports.

Since its inception, JHF has been committed to improving the physical, mental, and social well-being of older adults. With the Baby Boomer generation redefining what it means to age well, JHF kicked off a multi-pronged Senior Connections initiative in 2016. Charrettes, or community planning sessions, are a hallmark of the Senior Connectionsinitiative. The charrettes bring together thought leaders and practitioners from across disciplines and industries for a day of senior-focused discussion and strategic planning.

The Foundation and its Senior Connections partners have already launched exercise and recreation programming for older adults of all physical abilities, which is available through Venture Outdoors. To help older adults stay socially and intellectually engaged, JHF also launched the Virtual Senior AcademyTM, a platform that has connected more than 700 older adults in the Pittsburgh region through interactive courses on a variety of subjects.

 Grant Renewals

JHF also renewed the following grants:

• A one-year, $900,000 block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, which is distributed to beneficiary agencies to address the health needs of the Jewish community. Since its founding in 1990, JHF has provided an annual block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The block grant, which benefits the Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family and Community Services, Riverview Towers, and Jewish Residential Services, represents 60% of the $1.5 million distributed annually by the Federation to the local community for aging and human service needs.

The block grant is part of JHF's more than $2.1 million in total funding support provided to the local Jewish community in 2018.

• A one-year grant of up to $300,000 to the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal), a supporting organization of JHF, to advance the organization's strategies to improve maternal and child health. WHAMglobal is committed to identifying the root causes of maternal and infant mortality, and supporting mothers and families through the entirety of their care. WHAMglobal aims to accomplish those goals by studying high-quality maternal care models from around the world, championing policy and practice reforms, and forming a strong network of women's health advocates.

The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is nearly three times higher than in any other peer nation. And, while other countries around the world are reducing maternal mortality, the rate in the U.S. continues to rise. The CDC Foundation estimates that nearly 60% of maternal deaths in the U.S. could be prevented. The U.S. also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world. Among U.S. states, Pennsylvania ranks 17th in terms of the lowest maternal mortality rate, according to the United Health Foundation's 2018 America's Health Rankings, and 26th in infant mortality.

• A one-year, $68,000 grant to the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Impact Fund. JHF has provided a yearly grant to the Impact Fund since it was launched in 2002 to support the United Way's core partner agencies and address critical community needs.

• A one-year, $50,000 grant to PublicSource to provide independent coverage of healthcare issues of interest to the residents of southwestern Pennsylvania.

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