ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources has awarded $5 million in grants to help organizations address crucial needs in their communities, many of them made more urgent by the stress COVID-19 has placed on North Texans. Screening for anxiety, expanding community gardens to address food insecurity and assisting with job training are among the issues that the Texas Health Community Impact grants will address.
The grants are made with input from leaders in communities around North Texas. They are targeted at priorities that were identified in the Texas Health Community Health Needs Assessment and confirmed with data from community readiness surveys. The grants are a data-driven, outcome-focused approach to addressing social determinants of health upstream before they become serious problems.
“These issues, such as food insecurity and social isolation, have been longstanding problems in these communities and have only become more critical because of the pandemic,” said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health. “Texas Health Community Impact is about reaching beyond the walls of our hospitals and improving the lives of people in the communities we serve.”
This is the second round of Texas Heath Community Impact grants. The funds go to community organizations in five geographic regions of North Texas. This series of grants builds on the successes of the first round of grants. Most organizations that received awards when the program was launched in 2019 are receiving funding in the second round.
“The Texas Health Community Impact initiative identifies specific ZIP codes to address social issues that often result in conditions such as chronic disease and premature death,” said Catherine Oliveros, DrPH, Texas Health’s vice president of Community Health Improvement. “We’re uniting with agencies in different areas of North Texas — local schools, faith communities and health clinics — to address problems through our collective efforts.”
In deciding areas with the greatest need this year, Texas Health’s five regional Community Impact Leadership Councils looked through the lens of COVID-19 and focused on issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Counseling for anxiety, for example, has become an urgent need throughout North Texas because of the pandemic. Last year 52 percent of behavioral health organizations in the Dallas/Rockwall region saw a greater demand for mental health and addiction services, according to the Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology. The center provides services to those who cannot afford professional treatment. Beyond Blue, a collaborative effort between multiple agencies in the region, will use the impact grant to screen and treat anxiety as well as add community case workers to better reach those who cannot access help.
While evaluating community health needs, Texas Health also learned more about the areas where seniors and youth lacked access to food and were isolated, leading to depression and physical problems.
“We are strategically investing in partnerships and innovations that will move the needle in health disparities and health outcomes,” said David Tesmer, chief community and public policy officer for Texas Health. “Our inaugural grant cycle resulted in many successes, and we are excited that with the additional $5 million now being invested we will continue to strengthen promising programs that have potential to disrupt — and improve — the way health and well-being are addressed in the areas that need these types of solutions the most.”
“Siloed efforts to address social determinants to health have limited success. To make impactful and sustainable improvement to a community’s health requires ongoing trust, cooperation and collaboration,” Tesmer said. “Texas Health is dedicated and committed to working side-by-side with our partners to support a common mission and vision of improving the health and well-being of the communities that we are truly privileged and blessed to serve.”
The grants are just part of Texas Health’s contribution to the communities it serves. In 2019, the system provided about $877 million in charity care and community benefits. That includes $259 in charity care, $558 million unreimbursed Medicare; and $60 million in community benefits, for programs provided in response to identified community needs and in volunteer hours.
Here is how the grants currently awarded break down
- LifePath Systems ($475,000) — Beyond Blue, a collaboration between multiple agencies to improve services to those at risk of depression, or who have been diagnosed with it in the 75069 ZIP code. In 2021, they plan to add community case workers, screen and treat for anxiety and provide mental health first aid to the community. They also plan to expand their community garden kitchen to feed anyone in need.
- Plano ISD Education Foundation ($474,198) — PlanoUp! is a collaboration to centralize services to address depression and social determinants of health on school campuses in 75074 (East Plano). In 2021, they plan to add screening for anxiety, expand services to more schools and distribute food through mobile food pantries.
- Well Together ($500,000) — A Dallas/Rockwall behavioral health initiative, Well Together is designed to mitigate depression in individuals in Central and West Dallas (75231, 75212, 75211), Southeast Dallas (75217) and South Rockwall (75032) through a continuum-of-care approach targeting underserved communities. The initiative seeks to maximize the impact of programs addressing behavioral health by using education to reduce stigma, developing a referral pathway to supportive services, and removing barriers to access to counseling and therapy for those who need it most.
- AVANCE North Texas will work in the West Dallas, Vickery Meadow and Pleasant Grove communities to increase awareness of mental health and screen 100 families for depression and connect 50 families with limited or no access to needed social resources.
- Lake Pointe Church will serve 100 uninsured residents of Lake Rockwall Estates with primary care and screening for depression.
- The Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology will conduct a well-being assessment for 500 individuals and care for 120 low-income clients suffering from depression and anxiety through in-person and tele-counseling in all target areas of Well Together. The center is also piloting technology to enhance client engagement and improve ongoing management in addition to their clinical appointments.
- Sanger Independent School District ($294,400) — Together Harnessing Resources to give Individuals Voice and Empowerment (THRIVE) will address resilience in K-6th grades, offer life space crisis intervention training, provide a specialized crisis counselor and increase food sustainability with a community garden to sustain the grocery store.
- Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas (Lewisville) ($232,800) — Plans include expanding several efforts including the “Difficulties in Emotional Regulation Scale Survey” and “Be Strong Parent Café,” and expanding the pantry.
- Children’s Advocacy Center for North Texas (Bridgeport) ($356,000) — All students in Bridgeport Middle School will be taught self-regulatory skills. The program will provide a campus food and clothing pantry and will increase food distribution. Students will provide food from growing towers.
Southern Region (Ellis, Erath, Hood, Johnson, and Kaufman counties)
- Erath County United Way in collaboration with Tarleton State University — The organizations will work to decrease depression and anxiety among low-income adults age 40-plus in Erath ZIP codes 76401, 76402 and 76446.A goal is to increase food security by 10% by increasing access to healthy foods.
- United Way of Tarrant County ($525,000) — Project Empower will address needs of those 18 and older in Arlington 76010 and 76011 and Springtown 76082.
- Parker County Center of Hope ($174,956) — Help, Hand, and Hope will continue working with businesses, nonprofits and churches in Springtown to help those who are hungry, jobless and anxious. Modeled after Center of Hope in Weatherford, the program will offer food and financial assistance, job training services while improving mental health services.
- Eastside Community Assistance ($215,292) — The Railroad addresses the needs of low-income individuals 18 years and older in ZIP code 76119. The three-step plan advances clients through programs to meet their needs for food, clothing and in-house counseling.
Collin County Region
About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in North Texas than any other provider. With a service area that consists of 16 counties and more than 7 million people, the system is committed to providing quality, coordinated care through its Texas Health Physicians Group and 29 hospital locations under the banners of Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley. Texas Health access points and services, ranging from acute-care hospitals and trauma centers to outpatient facilities and home health and preventive services, provide the full continuum of care for all stages of life. The system has more than 4,100 licensed hospital beds, 6,400 physicians with active staff privileges and more than 26,000 employees. For more information about Texas Health, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.