Foster G. McGaw Prize Awarded to Allegiance Health for Excellence in Community Service
In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, Allegiance Health in Jackson, Michigan, is the recipient of the 2010 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in health care.
Each year, this $100,000 prize is presented to a health care organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust.
The Foster G. McGaw Prize, celebrating more than 25 years of honoring excellence in community service, recognizes health care organizations that demonstrate commitment to community service through a range of programs that demonstrate a passion and continuous commitment to making communities healthier and more vital. The prize, first awarded in 1986, inspires hospitals, health systems and communities to assess and implement programs that improve their communities.
"This year's McGaw Prize winner, Allegiance Health, is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the people in its community. With a department and board committee solely dedicated to prevention and community health, Allegiance offers community programs that increase access to care and empower individuals to improve their health," said John O’Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee.
"Receiving this award is especially meaningful because it reflects a two decade journey to act on our mission for the benefit of our community," said Georgia Fojtasek, president and CEO of Allegiance Health. "We have worked to promote health and wellness and ensure access to the underserved in our community. By partnering with community organizations that share our passion and vision for making Jackson the state’s healthiest community, we have begun to positively change behaviors. Our community partnerships have created new access points to care and innovative approaches to health and wellness that are clearly making a lasting impact far beyond the walls of our facilities."
Among other programs, Allegiance Health was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:
- It’s Your Life – Developed by Allegiance Health's Health Improvement Organization (HIO) and in partnership with several employers throughout the region, this community-wide health management program encourages employers to become partners in managing the health of staff, drives personal accountability of staff for their own health, offers customized interventions to employers based on risk assessments of their staff members and reduces health care costs. Since its launch in 2002, the program has helped participants decrease their average number of health risks by nearly 25 percent.
- Project Access – Since 2007, this program has worked to provide access to health care for the working poor in the region surrounding Allegiance Health. In partnership with several community health organizations and foundations, as well as 44 primary-care physicians and 125 specialists, Project Access has served more than 875 people who are without health insurance.
- School-based health centers – In collaboration with Jackson Public Schools, the Jackson County Health Department and local parents, Allegiance Health supports two school-based health centers which provide in-classroom health education, primary care through a nurse practitioner and dental and counseling services to children who live in Jackson County. In 2009, the centers saw a combined 4,409 students.
- Community Medication Assistance Program (CMAP) – Since the program’s inception in 2000, CMAP has filled more than 200,000 prescriptions and provided $15 million in free drugs to community members without prescription insurance.
- House-to-House – This prenatal education program, which has served more than 900 women since 2003, focuses on low-income women and trains recognized "natural helpers" in the community to host gatherings focused on women’s health before, during and after pregnancy, prenatal care and teen motherhood.
To learn more about the Foster G. McGaw Prize, visit www.aha.org/foster.