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Health First St. Joseph County

August 2021, established by Executive Order 21-21 by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the Governor's Public Health Commission was charged with studying the strengths and weaknesses of Indiana's existing public health system and making recommendations for improvement in the following focus areas: governance, infrastructure, and services; dedicated public health funding; public health workforce, data and information systems; emergency preparedness; and child and adolescent health.

Senate Enrolled Act 4, now named "Health First Indiana", is the state's initiative focusing on creating a set of core public health services, accessible, recurring, and dedicated funding, and defined measurements for success and progress with the goal of ensuring every Hoosier can achieve optimal health.

Health First St. Joseph County aims to transform public health through local partnerships to deliver core services at a county level. With many existing and thriving partnerships, the St. Joseph County Department of Health understands that to achieve the best outcomes for the core public health services, the community is best served when a well-developed plan is created utilizing internal SJCDoH programming combined with existing or new community partner programming, projects, and/or activities in several core service areas.

The St. Joseph County Department of Health utilized an extensive request for proposal process and will fund the proposed programs in 2024 in the following key core service areas, totaling $973,755.46:

  • Maternal and Child Health
    • Beacon Health System
      • Initiative to address hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy.
      • Total award: $83,750
    • E. Blair Warner Family Medicine Center
      • Comprehensive prenatal education and activities to support positive birth outcomes.
      • Total award: $5,000
    • Northern Indiana Maternal  & Child Health Network
      • Increase awareness of reproductive health care and access to care for all people.
      • Total award: $67, 140
    • University of Notre Dame
      • Implement a  pop-up pregnancy/family village program supporting those at highest risk for infant mortality.
      • Total award: $65,000
    • Women's Care Center
      • Creation of a one-on-one CARE program addressing mom's needs through all 4 trimesters of pregnancy.
      • Total award: $75,003
  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
    • St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
      • Continuation and expansion of smoking cessation classes and youth vaping prevention.
      • Total award: $57, 851
  • Chronic Disease Prevention
    • Bike Michiana Coalition
      • Create and implement a bike safety education program in St. Joseph County
      • Total award: $10,640
    • Indiana University School of Medicine South Bend
      • Development of the Heart Improvement Project
      • Total award: $63,442
    • Portage Township
      • Development and implementation of  Healthy Eating on a Budget program focused on reducing obesity by creating awareness around proper nutrition.
      • Total award: $65,000
    • REAL Services, Inc.
      • Implement the Chronic Disease Self Management Program and Stay Active  and Independent for Life program targeting older adults.
      • Total award: $80,763
    • St. Margaret's House
      • Expansion and overhaul of  their food program
      • Total award: $46,046.46
    • United Health Services
      • Creation of Prevention: Health First program- a screening, intervention, and prevention program for chronic diseases associated with obesity: hypertension and obesity.
      • Total award: $27,750
    • Unity Gardens, Inc.
      • Educational Expansion Program  to grow more food and increase access to nature and shade
      • Total award: $89,940
  • Infectious Disease Surveillance
    • HealthLinc, Inc.
      • Expand Hepatitis C testing and treatment .
      • Total award: $50,000
    • Street Medicine South Bend
      • Expand Hepatitis C testing and treatment with unhoused individuals
      • Total award: $15,014
  • School Wellness
    • Cultivate Food Rescue
      • Expand the Backpack weekend meal program
      • Total award: $50,000
    • Mental Health Awareness of Michiana
      • Creation of programming focused on mental wellbeing and healthy relationships
      • Total award: $10,416
    • Purdue Extension St. Joseph County
      • Pilot a Junior Master Gardeners class and nutrition education at a local elementary school
      • Total award: $3,000
    • South Bend Empowerment Zone
      • Post-pandemic wellness intervention program to focus on student and staff mental wellbeing and provide supports for students
      • Total award: $108,000
The state explains what areas they want to focus on, below are the workbooks each unit of the St. Joseph County Department of Health created to best serve our community starting 2024!