From left are Steve Julian, Sentara Obici Hospital president; Matt Lewis, Suffolk Family YMCA director of operation; Phyllis Stoneburner, Sentara Obici Hospital patient care services vice president; Virginia Savage, community health outreach and education program director; Kim Schwartz, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center chief executive officer; Ryan Harrell, Suffolk Family YMCA board chair; Viola Vaughn-Holland, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center board member; and Rick Matthews, Suffolk Family YMCA district vice president. (Submitted Photo)
From left are Steve Julian, Sentara Obici Hospital president; Matt Lewis, Suffolk Family YMCA director of operation; Phyllis Stoneburner, Sentara Obici Hospital patient care services vice president; Virginia Savage, community health outreach and education program director; Kim Schwartz, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center chief executive officer; Ryan Harrell, Suffolk Family YMCA board chair; Viola Vaughn-Holland, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center board member; and Rick Matthews, Suffolk Family YMCA district vice president. (Submitted Photo)

Archived Story

Foundation says ‘Bravo’

Published 10:08pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Local nonprofit organizations were honored during a Bravo Breakfast held by the Obici Healthcare Foundation Tuesday at the Smithfield Center.

After five years of granting funds to organizations promoting health in the region, the foundation especially wanted to recognize groups that set an example of sustainability by continuing programs beyond the foundation’s funding, Senior Program Officer Rick Spencer said Wednesday.

“We wanted to emphasize sustainability among grantees and potential grantees,” he said. “That’s so important. Nonprofits need to be innovative and creative when they consider sustaining programs.”

The event also included a panel discussion on the impact of philanthropy.

Those recognized include the Suffolk Family YMCA, Sentara Obici Hospital and the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, which each received a plaque and check for $5,000.

The YMCA was honored for its Y-Change program. Following initial funding by the foundation for the Suffolk location, the program was expanded throughout the Hampton Roads area.

“It was very popular here, and it’s proven to be very popular elsewhere,” Spencer said, adding that around 12,000 people have participated, with a remarkably high retention rate of 80 percent. “It’s difficult to stay in a lifestyle management program.”

Sentara Obici Hospital was recognized for its community health outreach program, which has a nurse follow up on people discharged from the hospital after being diagnosed with a severe chronic disease.

“They go home and may not have the resources to manage their chronic diseases at home,” which often results in return trips to the emergency room, Spencer said. “A nurse will come and visit with them periodically and work toward getting them self-sufficient.”

As an example, at one home visit where Spencer tagged along, the nurse found that a recently diagnosed diabetic patient did not have much food in the house, so she worked to make sure the patient could get aid from a local food pantry. She also checked to make sure he was on schedule with his medications.

“It’s a matter of monitoring, providing instruction and doing an assessment of their overall needs so they can have a successful health outcome,” Spencer said.

The third honoree was the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center for its telehealth monitoring program, in which patients self-monitor their blood pressure, pulse, blood sugar and other health factors and report them via a special mobile device. A nurse monitors the data and communicates with the primary care physician, determines when a patient might need intervention and calls them to provide education.

The program helped the rural, low-income region see a marked decrease in hospitalizations among those participating during the first years of implementation.

“We look forward to future events like Bravo Breakfast,” Spencer said. “We encourage our grantees to reach for a level of success that will give our community a reason to applaud.”

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