Grant Provides a Boost to Community Health Efforts in Haralson County
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Tanner Health System has received a grant for $100,000 to help improve health in Haralson County.
The grant from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation aims to address the persistent inequities in health outcomes that disproportionately affect rural Georgians.
It was one of 14 awards made by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation totaling $1,105,000 in support of The Two Georgias Initiative. The Two Georgias Initiative is working to achieve greater health equity among rural Georgians by reducing health disparities; improving health and healthcare systems; and building community, organizational and individual leadership capacity across 11 rural communities.
“For these rural communities, the journey of addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents has just begun,” said Gary D. Nelson, Ph.D., president of the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. “These communities are discovering for themselves the potential for greater health equity.”
Tanner will use the grant for “Healthy Haralson” — a committee of Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well — that is leading the charge to address challenges that rural communities face in providing and accessing quality health services. Geographic isolation, limited employment opportunities, lack of transportation and fewer healthcare providers are just some of the barriers faced by residents in rural areas such as Haralson County.
Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well is a community coalition working to educate, promote and develop sustained conditions for healthy lifestyles where people live, learn, work, play and pray in west Georgia.
“We are grateful for this grant that will enable ‘Healthy Haralson’ to continue working to improve the health of residents in Haralson County and reduce health disparities,” said Denise L. Taylor, senior vice president and chief community health and brand officer for Tanner Health System. “We look forward to continuing and expanding programs in areas that the community has identified as top priorities.”
Tanner Health System received the first grant in 2017 from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation through The Two Georgias Initiative. With that first round of funding, Tanner partnered with the University of West Georgia to conduct an in-depth community health needs assessment in Haralson County.
“Through the needs assessment, community members prioritized six key areas of focus,” said Alicia Michael, Tanner’s rural health outreach coordinator. “We created task forces for each of those six areas and have now engaged over 100 local residents, representing many different parts of the community, to develop and implement solutions addressing these important challenges.”
The assessment was used to develop a Community Health Improvement Plan that addressed the following six areas: Healthy Lifestyle and Education, Increase Awareness of Existing Resources, Increase Provider Resources, Senior Needs, Substance Misuse and Youth Mental Health. The taskforces are working to ensure all residents have equitable opportunities and resources to get healthy and live well.
Many programs have been implemented, ranging from teaching seniors how to prepare healthier meals on a budget to helping provide fresh produce options through the local food banks. In response to the opioid crisis, several local law enforcement and fire departments have been trained in how to carry and properly administer naloxone — a medication to treat someone who has overdosed on a narcotic.
“This grant will help us continue to focus on these programs and allow us to start working on an expanded level of implementation,” Michael said.
The continued partnership with the community and the strong leadership of the members on the six taskforces are key to the ongoing success of Healthy Haralson.
“It’s all about collaboration within your community because when you bring everyone to the table, it builds a much stronger response to overcome high-level challenges,” Michael said. “This also develops a level of sustainability that is essential for creating lasting change.”
About Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, charitable organization with a vision of health equity in Georgia where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Through strategic grant-making, our mission is to enable, improve, and advance the health and well-being of all Georgians. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org.