Report of the Chairman and Executive Director
The Health Care Council of the Lehigh Valley released its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) entitled “The Road to Health” in early 2016. The region-wide summary garnered input from area residents through focus groups in Lehigh and Northampton Counties and incorporated data from local, state, and national resources about disease, the environment, social factors, and individual behaviors. The Pool Trust provided funding for the CHNA and convened the agencies and partners who developed it. The Road to Health focused primarily on factors that impact health such as individual behaviors and habits, relationships, work, income, housing, education, and access to health care.
The issue of housing and the vital role that safe, clean, and affordable homes play in the health of children and families was one finding from the CHNA that rose to the top. In response, The Pool Trust organized the “Strengthening Community Development Efforts through Multi-Sector Partnerships – How Housing Impacts Us All” symposium to connect local community service agencies and to educate them on the relationship between housing and health for the most vulnerable populations. Its goal was to bring leaders of related fields out of their respective “silos” and encourage the agencies to work together to address this issue and find collective impact solutions.
Access to prenatal care for at-risk women was another issue that came out of the CHNA. Improving the health of pregnant women and young children in Center City Allentown through early intervention home visits is the goal of the Allentown Children’s Health Improvement Project. The Pool Trust provided a $1.91 million, 30-month grant that brings together Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Department of Community Health and Women and Children’s services along with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital and the Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley in a partnership. A staff of bilingual community health workers from the neighborhood surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone operates out of PNLV’s Allentown Promise Neighborhood office in downtown Allentown.
The Trust funded a planning grant called “The Future for Nursing 2020 – Inspiring a Culture of Inquiry.” LVHN nursing leaders will explore structure and processes that promote experimentation and innovation within two focused domains: Evidenced-Based Practice and Research; and Professional Excellence. It builds on the successes of the LVHN nurse residency program and their achievements as a Magnet facility.
The Pool Trust awarded four grants in 2016 totaling $2,260,010. We will continue to focus on key health indicators from sources such as the CHNA. We know that these investments in the health of our community will continue to see returns in the years to come through a healthier population and an enhanced health care system.
John P. Jones III
Edward F. Meehan