Human Services

Southwestern AHEC

  • Shelton, CT
  • www.swctahec.org

Mission Statement

Southwestern AHEC's mission is "Opening doors to better health in underserved populations through education, careers and outreach." We do this by "Connecting Students to Careers, Professionals to Communities, and Communities to Better Health." Our programs focus on: Community Health Workers (CHW): Developing the CHW workforce in CT as part of the State Innovation Model Grant to create a recognized, and sustainable CHW workforce in CT. The CT AHEC Network provides grassroots training, and specialized education for CHWs, and technical assistance to employers and supervisors who are working with the CHW workforce. Health Careers Diversity - Building a diverse healthcare workforce by engaging grades 9-16 in learning about health careers and doing service learning; Children's Immunizations - Working to achieve a 90+% of immunization in children ages 0-2 years in the Bridgeport community; Connecting Oral Health and Medical Health to improve overall health by educating providers, consumers and communities about how the oral health links to general health. Our success is built on building partnerships and working to highlight our strengths and the strengths of our community partners. Our impact is stronger when we link our programs to complement others in the community.

Main Programs

  1. Health Careers Awareness and Recruitment
  2. Immunization Action Plan Program
  3. Community Health Worker Workforce Development and Training
  4. HPV Project
Service Areas

Self-reported

Connecticut

Southwestern AHEC's region extends from Greenwich to Madison, including southern Fairfield and New Haven counties. The towns and cities outside of greater New Haven include Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding, Weston, Easton, Westport, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Trumbull and Monroe. Although much of the region is affluent, many of Connecticut's neediest residents reside in the urban areas, and are able to have access to our programs. As part of the CT AHEC Network, Southwestern AHEC is the Lead agency for implementing the Community Health Worker Initiative statewide. We will be working closely with the 3 other AHEC centers as we implement the SIM work and other grant and training programs.

ruling year

2003

Principal Officer since 1998

Self-reported

Mrs. Meredith C Ferraro

Keywords

Self-reported

Service Learning, Health Careers, Diversity, Community Health Workers, Immunization

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Also Known As

Southwestern AHEC

EIN

06-1615577

 Number

2748297231

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

In the past year Southwestern AHEC has accomplished: 1. Supported the development of "The Community Health Workers Association of CT" in getting infrastructure, mission and vision, core values, and initiating the organizational infrastructure. We continue to house and support the CHWACT's work in advocacy for CHWs. 2. Held the successful "Business Case for CHWs in CT: Employers and the ACA" on December 11th, 2014 in partnership with Gateway, Housatonic and Capital Community Colleges. Seventy-four people attended and and 75% strongly agreed that the conference presented new knowledge and was helpful for future planning. The following documents were developed and distributed at the conference: The Community Health Workers in CT White Paper,The Business Case for Community Health Workers in CT, and the Survey report of CHWs and Employers: Community Health Workers: Connecticut. These documents can be found on our website: www.swctahec.org 3. Supported 3 Yale MPH students with their community-based research on ""Achieving the Triple Aim through Community Health Workers: Payment Models Aligned with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "" This research consisted of identifying how CHWs were being paid for in the newly developing care delivery models with health reform, more specifically the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services State Innovation Model grantees. This research poster was presented at the 2014 American Public Health Assn. Conference and won the "Best of the Best Award" Public Health Education and Health Promotion (PHEHP) section of APHA for this year! 4. The CT AHEC Network's CHW initiative was funded through the State Innovation Model Testing Grant awarded to CT in December 2014. This will provide support for developing the infrastructure for education and training, credentialing and sustaining Connecticut's CHW workforce. 5. Southwestern AHEC's Immunization Action Plan Program identified Iris Vargas, RN as 2015 Connecticut's Immunization Champion! Iris has been an advocate, mentor and leader in the promotion of childhood immunizations for over 30 years, an outstanding achievement! Southwestern AHEC's Goals for 2015-16 are to: Obtain statewide policy support for Community Health Workers as a sustainable public health workforce, which impacts improvement in health outcomes and in the efficacy of health care delivery, integrating this workforce into the SIM. Successfully engage 200 high school students in the Youth Health Service Corps, and 40 college students in the Collegiate Health Service Corps, tracking them into health careers. Expand and restore our fiscal base by obtaining new funding streams through grants, contracts, fee for service, and overall fund development. Identify how the CHW workforce can be sustainable in Connecticut, through working with pilot projects that are implementing the use of CHWs. For example, we are developing a specialized CHW internships for the CT Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the WISEWOMAN program with the 11 provider sites. We will be working with the CHWs as they implement their skills and assess the impact of their work.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Health Careers Awareness and Recruitment

Our Health Careers programs seek to recruit a more diverse future healthcare workforce, for long term improved access to health care, reducing health disparities, and recruit/retain health care professionals serving underserved and vulnerable communities. Programs include:Youth Health Service Corps (high school) - Service LearningCollegiate Health Service Corps (college) - Service LearningIs a Health Career for You? K-12 hands on activities with guest speakers and health topics; Gear Up, GoodwillHealth Profession Student E-Mentoring with High School Medical Careers students. "Investigations in Health Careers" course instructor at Housatonic Community College. It is a College Credit Pathway Course for Central HS in Bridgeport.

Category

Youth Development, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Hispanics

Budget

$100,000.00

Program 2

Immunization Action Plan Program

The goal of the IAP Program is to increase children's immunization levels, with a focus on 0-2 year olds. Key activities of the IAP Program are: Improve vaccine delivery to participating pediatric officesTrack individual children's vaccination histories, using CIRTS (Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System)Locate children ""lost"" to tracking, through collaborative efforts with community partnersConduct community outreach to targeted parents and pregnant womenProvide education and assessment opportunities to participating pediatric officesConduct promotional campaigns during national immunization recognition week and month Significant Achievements: The Bridgeport immunization rate has increased from 65% in 2006 to 78% in 2011. The efficacy rate of finding children who have not received their vaccinations is 96%.Southwestern AHEC hosts a Bridgeport Immunization Advisory Council to provide vaccine updates and share best practices among pediatric and family practices. Staff created ""CIRTS BINGO"" for use as a training tool for local parents and community service agency staff. Since 2008 and 2009, more than 400 parents have learned about the CT vaccine registry through this fun and informative tool.Outreach is conducted each year at numerous community health fairs, schools, social service agencies and faith-based organizations, reaching hundreds of parents with information about preventable disease, immunizations and the CIRTS program.

Category

Health Care, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Infants/Babies (under age 5)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

$168,876.00

Program 3

Community Health Worker Workforce Development and Training

The goal of the Community Health Program (CHW) developed by the Southwestern AHEC is provide training, education and support for the development of the CHW workforce in CT. The Community Health Workers Association of CT has formulated, and is assisting CHWs be recognized as vital workforce for improving access to quality health care for linking vulnerable and at-risk populations to accessing health care resources in Connecticut. The research phase of this project is underway. Three documents have been developed: A White Paper on Community Health Workers in CT, The Business Case for Community Health Workers in CT, and the results of CHW and Employer Surveys in CT: Community Health Workers: Connecticut. Research has been completed on : ""Achieving the Triple Aim through Community Health Workers: Payment Models Aligned with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "" This research consisted of researching how CHWs were being paid for in the newly developing care delivery models with health reform, more specifically the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services State Innovation Model grantees.The potential for the CHW field is enormous as research shows they improve the integration of service delivery, and contribute to reducing health disparities. Southwestern AHEC is the lead agency for the CT AHEC Network's CHW Initiative in the CT State Innovation Model testing grant project. This initiative is focusing on Community Health Workforce Development, Community and Clinical Integration program, Infrastructure and Policy and Education and Community Integration.

Category

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

$157,000.00

Program 4

HPV Project

Southwestern AHEC is the designated agency in Connecticut for the National AHEC Organization HPV Immunization Project. This CDC funding is for providing education to health professionals regarding the Human Papillomavirus vaccine. We will be providing clinician outreach and training, disseminating educational materials, increasing and forming strong partnerships with national organizations and health professionals in schools, and pushing prioritization of HPV vaccination efforts.

Category

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Adults

Other Named Groups

Budget

$9,000.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

Connecticut

Southwestern AHEC's region extends from Greenwich to Madison, including southern Fairfield and New Haven counties. The towns and cities outside of greater New Haven include Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding, Weston, Easton, Westport, Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Trumbull and Monroe. Although much of the region is affluent, many of Connecticut's neediest residents reside in the urban areas, and are able to have access to our programs. As part of the CT AHEC Network, Southwestern AHEC is the Lead agency for implementing the Community Health Worker Initiative statewide. We will be working closely with the 3 other AHEC centers as we implement the SIM work and other grant and training programs.

Funding Needs

Southwestern AHEC's most pressing needs are to gain new funding streams to enhance and maintain programs. This includes: 1. Obtain funding to support administrative and/or secretarial support. $25K (Part Time)2. Update and complete Salesforce data infrastructure by training staff, uploading data and implementing its use for grant tracking and 3. Obtain Furniture for new employees and our conference/training room in our new space, $25 - 30K 4. Marketing and Branding development and plan, with implementation to include new Website and Social media strategies. $20K 5. Volunteers with experience for initiating a Development program. Funds and private donations are needed to build a base of fiscal support so as not to rely so entirely on grants and soft money. This is a priority, yet time constraints on staff and current Board members have left limited resources to get it done.

Accreditations

Affiliations + Memberships

Connecticut Association of Nonprofits

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

SOUTHWESTERN AHEC INC
Fiscal year: Oct 01-Sep 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Southwestern AHEC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Mrs. Meredith C Ferraro

BIO

2006 ~ Present Executive Director, Southwestern Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Inc. 2002 ~ 2005 Executive Director, Southwestern Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Sacred Heart University 1998 ~ 2002 Executive Director, Southwestern Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Housatonic Community College 1994 ~ 1998 Assistant Professor and ACCE, Physical Therapist Assistant Program, Housatonic Community College 1992 ~ 1997 Hand Therapist, per diem, Riverview Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy, HealthSouth, Advantage Health Hand and Arthritis Therapy Center, Stewart Hand Therapy, Greenwich Hand Therapy 1994 ~ 1995 Physical Therapist, per diem. United Home Care 1989 ~ 1992 Private Practice. Meredith C. Ferraro, MS, PT. Upper Extremity and Hand Rehabilitation, Stony Brook, NY 1989 ~ 1991 Adjunct Assistant Professor. Touro College, Physical Therapy Program 1987 ~ 1988 Acting Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, Touro College, Physical Therapy Program 1985 ~ 1987 Clinical Assistant Professor, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo, P.T. Program. 1979 ~ 1987 Senior Physical Therapist, University Hospital, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794. Established Hand Therapy services; developed Clinical Education program for PT students in the Hand Therapy specialty.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Since its inception in 1998, Southwestern AHEC has grown to be a leader in providing students about the health careers. Our Health Occupations and Techology (H.O.T.) Guide has over 80 health careers that are offered by educational programs and institutions in Connecticut. It is available online at www.healthcareersinct.com. Working with underserved, first generation potential college students has provided us with insight into ways to assist these students in becoming a future health care worker. This year will be the 4th year of implementing a Mentoring program utilizing college students in health professions training programs to mentor our high school students who are participating in our health careers and Youth Health Service Corps (YHSC) program. The college students serve as a peer model, and work together with the high school students in completing service learning projects to benefit the local communities and their health. In our experience in working with youth, it is apparent that cultural sensitivity and awareness needs to be introduced to students in middle and high school - so, that they will have a better understanding of themselves and appreciate others for their similarities and differences. This year we are planning to pilot a program to train the CHSC students in cultural diversity, and train them as trainers to train the younger students - middle and high schoolers. We are hoping to measure a difference in all of the students who receive the cultural sensitivity training. Southwestern AHEC prides itself in being able to broker, and act as a neutral party to bring various parties together about issues that they have in common. We have been successful in running the ORBIT (Oral Health-Bridgeport) collaborative for 12 years. This collaborative meets to share knowledge and experiences, and funding, to promote access to oral health care for the residents of Bridgeport and Stratford. Our success with our oral health programs and partnerships provides us with the ability to participate on state level programs and partnerships. We are pleased to serve as the Co-Vice Chair of CT's Coalition for Oral Health. We look forward to serving as the Navigator for Access Health CT, and look forward to 100K more CT residents having health insurance ext year. We seek, each day, to meet the challenges of enhancing access to quality healthcare in Southwestern CT, via education, workforce development and community collaborations. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. V. Michael Simko Esq.

Mike Simko Law

Term: Jan 2015 - Jan 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?