HOPE at Home
Inside this edition:
Our job at Project HOPE is to provide lasting solutions to the world’s most critical health problems. That work takes us to more than three dozen countries on five continents, to deliver health education and humanitarian assistance to those who need it most
But it’s not only in faraway places around the globe that we find urgent health needs. We also want to make health care more accessible and effective in the United States. Our work close to home is the focus of this special edition of HOPE News.
In New Mexico, statistics tell a deadly story.
The state has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates. It also has the nation’s second highest population without health insurance. Taken together, those figures mean that too many New Mexicans lack access to the basic health care they need—and as a result may be at increased risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Project HOPE is working to solve that problem by teaming with UnitedHealth Group to deliver health care and health education to communities where it is most urgently needed. At the heart of the effort is a new mobile health unit that can travel to the poorest and most isolated areas of the state to offer free, comprehensive health screenings, education for community health workers and, through the latest telemedicine technology, consultations with medical specialists hundreds of miles away.
Health screenings and education are key to preventing the chronic diseases that plague many poor communities in New Mexico and elsewhere. Over the next three years, Project HOPE plans to provide screenings for some 30,000 underserved families and provide direct care for another 10,000 patients.
Delivering Care Where It Is Needed
At New Mexico’s largest health fair in January, more than 500 people met with Project HOPE health professionals for blood pressure and body mass index screenings. Project HOPE partner VisionQuest provided free retinal screenings with expert interpretation by optometrists. Some of the visitors who received screenings came from more than 200 miles away, and said that because they lack insurance, the event was their one chance to consult with health professionals.
Health education can make a long-term impact on the state’s health needs. Project HOPE’s Habits for Life program aims to spread the word about how exercise and diet can help prevent chronic disease. Visitors to the health fair received a free pedometer to help them reach a daily goal of 10,000 steps.
“This is all part of HOPE’s mission to come to the poorest communities and help people who don’t have health care,” said Project HOPE health educator Tonya Covington.
New Mexico Three-Year Goals
There was more than one winner at this year’s Super Bowl in Dallas.
HOPE’s mobile unit traveled from New Mexico to Dallas to offer free health screenings to hundreds of people during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV. The event was part of HOPE’s Habits for Life program, which combats chronic diseases. HOPE conducted the free screenings and health education in partnership with the National Football League Players Association and the Living Heart Foundation.
Attention for a Growing Problem
Chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are a growing problem in big cities like Dallas, where people may lack access to the health care they need. Screening for blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index is a crucial part of identifying people at risk for chronic disease, and helping them live a healthier life. Visitors to the mobile health unit received not only a complete health screening, but also education on the role of healthy eating and exercise in preventing disease.
Media attention focused on Dallas for the Super Bowl gave Project HOPE a unique forum for spreading its message of health education. HOPE plans to be at the big game next year, too. Plans are underway to bring the mobile health unit to Indianapolis prior to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
The Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of the blues, a place long famed for producing tales of trouble and pain. The trouble remains. The Delta is one of the nation’s poorest areas, and one of the least healthy. Mississippi has the highest rate of heart disease in the nation, and the second highest rate of diabetes.
The Delta Health Alliance (DHA) is working to change all that. The Mississippi-based organization runs 30 programs that improve health care and health education in a region where it is sorely lacking. In January, a Project HOPE team led by President and CEO John P. Howe, III, M.D., visited some of the clinics and educational institutions where DHA is making a difference. Through patient education, increased access to quality health care, and innovative, high-tech approaches to medicine, DHA is tackling the chronic diseases that have long plagued residents of the Delta.
In the years ahead,Project HOPE plans to collaborate with DHA, bringing its dedicated volunteers, donated medicines and health education expertise to bear on the health care needs of the Mississippi Delta.
Moss Point Clinic By the Numbers
2006 PATIENT VISITS
2010 PATIENT VISITS
PERCENTAGE OF PATIENTS BELOW FEDERAL POVERTY LINE
PERCENTAGE OF UNINSURED PATIENTS
After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, Project HOPE volunteers were among the first on the scene to provide care.
Six years later, HOPE’s work on the Gulf Coast to bring health care to some of the most isolated low-income communities of coastal Mississippi is still making an impact. The Gulf Coast town of Moss Point was particularly hard hit by Katrina, which left the only physician’s office in ruins.
Working with Coastal Family Health Center, which provides health care in the area regardless of ability to pay, HOPE launched an initiative to bring primary care services to Moss Point and surrounding communities. The result was the Moss Point Clinic, the region’s first new facility of its kind to open in the wake of Katrina.
The need was urgent. Within days of its opening on May 24, 2006, the clinic was operating at full capacity.
Meeting a Critical Need
Project HOPE also helped bring a mobile dental clinic to the Gulf Coast to serve low-income families.
The Moss Point Clinic has grown from its original, temporary space into a new 13,000 square-foot facility with a staff of 16, including five physicians. It provides pediatrics, women’s health and family services, as well as care for people with HIV/AIDS. It now handles more than 8,000 patient visits each year.
Its work on the Gulf Coast is an example of the way Project HOPE goes beyond meeting immediate health care needs, to provide enduring long-term solutions.
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For more information about Planned Giving or our Circle of HOPE, please call 1-800-544-4673 today. Thank you.
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In recently passed legislation, Congress has made gifts of IRA assets to Project HOPE more attractive! Consider making a difference to Project HOPE through tax-free giving from your retirement plan assets. If you are over age 70½, and are looking for the most tax-efficient ways to make a meaningful gift of HOPE, you can:
- Give directly to Project HOPE from a traditional or Roth IRA completely free of federal income tax.
- Make tax-free gifts of up to $100,000 ($200,000 per couple if you both have an IRA).
- Give directly from your IRA without increasing your adjusted gross income and possibly subjecting your Social Security income to a higher level of taxation.
- Make a generous gift that might not be possible using other assets.
This opportunity is available through the end of 2011. For more information, consult your advisors or contact Barbara Kabakoff, Director of Planned Giving & Major Gifts, at 1-800-544-4673.
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