The North Country Healthy Heart Network, Inc. has just successfully completed its 14th year of operation (FY July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015) during which time it continued to partner with others to increase health promoting policy, plans and projects in North Country communities. In concert with these efforts the Heart Network sponsored and delivered programs to build local knowledge and skill base to effectively implement policy and deliver services; while also promoting healthy activity through social media and special events. The Heart Network has compiled highlights of its 14th year in an Annual Report. We invite you to take a look at the impact we have made with our partners during this time period (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015).
The Heart Network is a small nonprofit organization reliant on grants and donations to operate. During the year, while making great strides programmatically, we were concerned about the Heart Network’s future.
- The Creating Healthy Places, 5 year grant, was winding down, a new Department of Health RFP, Creating Healthy Schools and Communities, was released and the Heart Network like many other nonprofits across the state submitted a proposal. (See special focus below)
- The Heart Network’s “Health Systems for a Tobacco Free NY” began in July 2014. For the first time since 2001 the Heart Network was not funded directly by the NYS Bureau of Tobacco Control, but instead it received funding for this initiative from a subcontract with Glens Falls Hospital. The nature of the work shifted focus from provider practices to medical and mental health systems. As there are a lot fewer health systems than practices, staffing and other associated budgetary needs were reduced. This one subcontract could not sustain our organization without additional funding.
The Heart Network Board’s strategic plan helped channel our energies to explore program development ideas based on our expertise in population health and the unmet needs of our area. As a result of research and discussions with key stakeholders, the Heart Network developed a new program, Moving Forward Together to Prevent Diabetes in Franklin County (MFT). MFT mirrors aspects of our current work with health systems to reduce tobacco use, plus, adds an on-site direct service role for the Heart Network with referral to the National Diabetes Prevention Program and other community resources. Adirondack Health and Citizen Advocates agreed to pilot the program when funding was secured. A logical partner to approach, given their commitment to improving community health through a number of strategies including engaging individuals in their own health, was Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The Heart Network applied for a three- year Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community and Member Health Improvement grant in March 2015.
In June, the Heart Network was notified that both – Creating Healthy Schools and Communities and Moving Forward Together to Prevent Diabetes in Franklin County -grant applications were approved. The Heart Network begins its fifteenth year, thankful for the opportunity to continue and expand its work creating healthy North Country environments, reducing tobacco use and preventing chronic disease.
The Heart Network is looking forward to continuing and expanding its partnerships and reach into less served communities and populations at risk. Stay tuned as we highlight each new program, starting this month with Creating Healthy Schools and Communities below.