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In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of the community, Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine was named a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare. 

The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation and the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust. This year marks the award’s 30th anniversary. As a finalist, LG Health/Penn Medicine will receive $10,000 to be used to support their community health initiatives.

“Lancaster County is extremely diverse, and Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine and its partners are committed to meeting the needs of every segment of the population,” said John O’Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. “The health system’s noteworthy initiatives include meeting the unique needs of the Amish community; providing medical, behavioral health and socioeconomic services to chronically ill and complex patients; addressing the obesity epidemic; establishing a Refugee Health Network for local refugees; and reducing tobacco use through a Tobacco Free Coalition.”

“We are humbled by this national honor that recognizes the collaborative efforts of our work with community partners to improve the health and well-being of those living throughout Lancaster,” said Jan Bergen, president and CEO, Lancaster General Health.

Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine was recognized for such innovative community service initiatives as: 

  • Amish Neighbor Partnership – LG Health/Penn Medicine works closely with the Amish community to understand its religious beliefs, practices and current healthcare needs, and to develop programs that meet those needs. Its leadership meets quarterly with Amish bishops to discuss how the organization can assist the Amish community. With help from community partners, LG Health/Penn Medicine has been providing free immunizations to at-risk Amish children for 25 years, and since 2009, has been hosting health education programs in the homes of Amish women to educate them on a wide range of health and healthy lifestyle issues.
  • Care Connections – Founded in 2011, this initiative provides medical, behavioral health and socioeconomic services to chronically ill and complex patients in Lancaster County. An interdisciplinary team of professionals helps coordinate care and engage patients in improving their health. Results show that inpatient hospitalizations among patients enrolled in the program have decreased 66 percent and emergency rooms visits have decreased 33 percent.
  • Tobacco Free Coalition – This multi-sector partnership that includes hospitals, the American Cancer Society, schools, health and human service groups, municipalities and others is dedicated to reducing tobacco use in adults and preventing it in future generations. The initiative has helped decrease the percent of current adult smokers in the county from 24 percent in 2001 to 14 percent in 2012. In addition, the percentage of adults receiving tobacco dependence treatment services who still had not smoked 30 days post-intervention increased from 37 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in 2014.

“The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes health care organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities,” said O’Brien. “This year’s winner and finalists offer a broad spectrum of programs to improve population health in their specific communities. Their outstanding leadership and collaboration serve to improve physical and behavioral health – as well as address social determinants of health – and thus make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

The 2015 winner of the $100,000 Foster G. McGaw Prize is Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It was recognized for its dedication to addressing social and economic determinants of health, reducing barriers to care for vulnerable populations, and promoting health equity.

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