Over the past year, a group of ambitious women came together with a goal for a better, healthier community. Working with the Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies Foundation, they started WISH – Women Investing in Strategies for Health – a new women’s giving circle to educate, empower and inspire women philanthropists by supporting health needs through University of Colorado Health programs in Larimer County. Today, 68 Charter Members are proud to announce the inaugural WISH award recipients. A total of nine projects were selected to receive awards ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 from the pooled funds of WISH totaling nearly $34,000.
“We are very grateful for the funding awarded to us through WISH,” says Elyse Diewald, RN, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Coordinator. “This funding will provide equipment to allow us to conduct exams in a more child-friendly environment outside of the emergency department for children who do not need to be seen emergently and provide for documentation of injuries for medical and legal purposes. By providing services at a central location, there will be better follow up medical care, better multi-faceted patient care, and all performed in a more sensitive environment. Thank you for your support of our program and the children in our community who are victims of sexual violence.”
Following are summaries of the nine applications the WISH membership approved for funding.
BstrongBfit, a running program for 5th and 6th grade girls sponsored by Community Health Improvement, is offered in schools where a coach applies for and attends a training program set up by the Healthy Kids Club. In ‘teams’ of 20 girls or less, they meet twice a week for eight weeks in the fall and spring. BstrongBfit’s request funds program costs for 200 girls.
Cardiovascular Family Intervention
This request from UCHealth Research Department will fund onsite childcare to supplement a grant for a pilot study intended to interrupt patterns of cardiovascular disease in low-income families. Entire families are encouraged to attend all eight sessions to ensure the success of the intervention. WISH funding will cover childcare to help encourage whole family participation in the project, aiding in its success.
Car Seat Education and Distribution Program
Safe Kids Larimer County, based within the Community Health Improvement Department at Poudre Valley Hospital, requested funds to purchase car seats for infants and children in low-income families in Larimer County. The program reaches about 400 Larimer County families per year who are in financial need.
Continuing Therapy Outreach Pilot Program – Music Therapy
UCHealth Outpatient Rehabilitation Services department requested funds to pilot a self-sustaining rehab program for patients discharged from formal therapy for neurological impairments caused by stroke, MS, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Because studies demonstrate that the use of rhythm taps into a different area of the brain not stimulated with regular therapy activities, the program would include neurologic music therapy and supervised exercise for 8-10 individuals with neurological impairments who are unable to participate in any other activity available in the community.
Digital Video Colposcope for Pediatric SANE Exams
In a case of physical or sexual abuse of a child, the child is brought directly to the Larimer County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Fort Collins. In physical abuse and acute sexual abuse cases, it is important for a physical examination to be conducted by a member of the UCHealth Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) team as soon as possible, but within 72 hours. Because the Larimer County CAC does not have equipment to do the exams on-site, the SANE team and the CAC requested WISH funds to purchase a digital colposcope and image management system so a pediatric SANE nurse can conduct the physical examination while the child is initially being seen at the CAC instead of being taken later (or in some cases not at all) to the Medical Center of the Rockies emergency room or the Salud Clinic for exams.
Electric Breast Pumps
The Community Health Improvement/Medicaid Accountable Care Collaborative (MACC)/RN Home Visit program, in partnership with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, requested funds to purchase additional hospital grade breast pumps and two portable scales to help low income mothers secure breast milk for their high risk infants who remain in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). WISH funds will make sure the most vulnerable at-risk newborns receive their mother’s milk after the mother has been discharged.
Healthy Hearts Club Expansion
Partnering with Poudre R1 and Thompson Valley R2-J School Districts, the Healthy Hearts Club organizes and conducts screenings and provides nutrition and heart health education to 4th and 10th graders in Larimer County. The WISH award enables the purchase of supplies needed to provide biometric screenings (cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index), helping the Healthy Hearts Club reach their goal to provide free screenings for all 4th and 10th graders in low-income schools in Larimer County.
Prenatal Substance Abuse Prevention Campaign
Addressing the issue of prenatal substance use/abuse, WISH funds will support the UCHealth Women and Family Care Department and Community Health Improvement’s outreach and information campaign throughout Larimer County. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of infants prenatally exposed to substances of abuse by focusing on community awareness and education. The campaign includes printing and distribution of 1,000 full-color, bi-lingual posters and Media ads via Google Pay-per-Click, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook, as well as free TV and radio public service announcements and a hot-line.
Women on a Roll
This local project, led by Community Health Improvement/Healthier Communities Coalition and FC Bikes/City of Fort Collins, is designed to increase bicycling in under-represented communities, specifically among women in the Latina community in north Fort Collins. WISH funding will provide specific Spanish literature to be used to promote cycling, as well as cycling safety education in local group meetings facilitated by “Promotoras” who are already working through the Vida Sana organization in local neighborhoods.
In its inaugural funding cycle, WISH received 16 funding request applications totaling over $67,000. To be eligible for funding, the principal applicant needed to be a staff member (including physicians with admitting privileges) of Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH) or Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR); co-applicants could be community partners or cooperating departments within PVH or MCR. Funding requests could not exceed $5,000.
Applicants were selected based on the following weighted selection criteria:
- Application focuses on enhancement of health/health care within the Larimer County community (30% weight).
- Application demonstrates the breadth of benefit to a broad cross-section of the community (20%).
- Application supports the health and health care needs of women, children and families (30%).
- Application promotes collaboration among departments, physicians and/or related community organizations (20%).
Of the 16 applications, 10 were selected for a more in-depth interview process and 9 were recommended for funding by the WISH Steering Committee. These recommendations were presented at the March 13th Voting Event where the WISH membership-at-large voted to determine the inaugural awarding of WISH funds.
WISH has already grown to 68 members in its inaugural year. The initiative is led by the WISH Steering Committee: Valerie Beyrouty, Nina Bodenhamer, Janene Dellenbach, Nancy Hartley, Kim Hayes, Pat Kendall, Susan Kirkpatrick, Mary McCambridge, Debbie McCubbin, Lori McWhinney, Yvonne Myers, Nancy Patton, Amy Rosenberg, Jan Sawyer, Erica Siemers, Maria Trumper and Stacy Unger.
WISH provides members the opportunity to pool their funds, learn about health needs in Larimer County, and collectively decide how their money will be utilized in support of local programs, projects and services provided through UCHealth, including services provided in partnership with community organizations. Participants of WISH are actively involved in how their dollars will be spent through an annual review and voting process. One hundred percent of annual membership gifts are awarded to selected applicants, thanks to the support of the PVH and MCR Foundation.
“As we celebrate our inaugural funding recipients, we reflect on the investment we’ve made in our community’s health by becoming members of WISH. It’s amazing how a $500 membership gift makes such a big difference in the lives of many within Larimer County! Share the passion for WISH, and the health of our community, and invite a friend to become a WISH member today,” said Debbie McCubbin, WISH steering committee chair.
The next WISH membership event will take place June 18. For more information on WISH, or to join, contact the PVH and MCR Foundation at 970.237.7403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.