On Friday, April 8th, Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson visited Community Health Net and Multi-Cultural Health Evaluation Delivery System (MHEDS) to discuss equitable access to healthcare for members of Erie’s diverse underserved, refugee, and immigrant communities. Her trip included a visit to CHN’s vaccine clinic to promote a visit to promote the importance of getting fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
Community Health Net and MHEDS, Erie’s Community Health Centers, have consistently partnered on a range of health service opportunities to help ensure the health and vitality of the individuals and families in the Lake Erie Region. Community Health Net is the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the Lake Erie region, addressing the health of the community’s underserved. MHEDS is Erie’s primary FQHC LookAlike, primarily serving the region’s refugee, immigrant, and underserved communities.
Dr. Johnson met with Executives from Erie’s Community Health Centers, key providers within their respective organizations, and Department of Health Coordinators from communities throughout the Western Pennsylvania region. Craig Ulmer, Chief Executive Officer of Community Health Net, and Patricia J. Stubber, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of MHEDS, gave an in-depth presentation highlighting their respective organizations’ stalwart efforts, for-profit and non-profit community partners, and ongoing needs to affect change. A clear narrative developed through the presentation and Dr. Johnson’s follow-up questions: both health centers are undoubtedly engaged, and their work was agreeable with Pennsylvania’s Physician General.
“Community Health Net and MHEDS, Erie’s Community Health Centers, have consistently partnered on a range of health service opportunities to help ensure the health and vitality of the individuals and families in the Lake Erie Region.”
Both organizations provided insight into the planning for their long-term collective impact effort: Trauma-Informed Community Development, which they view as the region’s long-term answer to an engaged healthcare effort for Erie’s distressed and socially vulnerable residents. Underpinning the collaboration and other information is the Social Vulnerability Index, designed to help local officials identify communities that may need support and Strategies for Identifying and Engaging At-Risk Groups from the CDC. Factors that inform the endeavor are:
- Socioeconomic status.
- Household composition & disability.
- Minority status & language.
- Housing & transportation.
Trauma-Informed Community Development is an awareness of the impact that trauma can have in communities relative to healthcare delivery; a method of providing healthcare through a trauma-informed lens consisting of constant attention, caring awareness, and stakeholder engagement to listen to the needs of the individual. During the meeting, Dr. Johnson assisted by identifying resources that could help Erie’s Community Health Centers.
“A clear narrative developed through the presentation and Dr. Johnson’s follow-up questions: both health centers are undoubtedly engaged, and their work was agreeable with Pennsylvania’s Physician General.”
Community Health Net reminded the Dr. Johnson of its designation by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as Best in Class Equity Performer for vaccinating on par or in more significant proportions with Erie County’s racial/ethnic minority populations. The conclusion affirmed Community Health Net’s efforts to distribute doses of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the region equitably.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health invited media to attend the event to highlight the need for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, especially since area code 16501 is the most socially vulnerable for COVID-19 transmissibility in Pennsylvania.
About Community Health Net
Community Health Net is the preeminent, community-focused healthcare network that advances the wellness of the region. Our mission is to improve our region’s quality of life by providing professional healthcare services with compassion, respect, and dignity to all. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with seven locations serving the Lake Erie region for over 35 years.
About Multi-Cultural Health Evaluation Delivery System
Multi-Cultural Health Evaluation Delivery System, Inc. [MHEDS] is the primary community-focused healthcare system promoting the wellness of Erie’s diverse immigrant and underserved communities at its two locations in the City of Erie. MHEDS, a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, is a community-based health care provider that meets the HRSA Health Center Program requirements but does not receive Health Center Program funding. We provide primary care services in underserved areas, provide care on a sliding fee scale based on the ability to pay, and operate under a governing board that includes patients. The defining legislation for Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes is Section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act.