The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) Foundation was recently awarded $249,947 from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for a new project to promote health equity and combat heart disease in our community: Mohawk Valley Health Partnership to Combat Heart Disease.


The Mohawk Valley Partnership to Combat Heart Disease will build on and expand the work done by the Mohawk Valley Health Equity Task Force related to COVID-19 education and equitable distribution of COVID vaccines to address critical healthcare needs among vulnerable populations in Oneida County.


“As the largest healthcare organization in this community, it is important that we be a leader and a partner for the health of our community, particularly ensuring health equity among the population,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, president/CEO of MVHS. “This project builds off the current Health Equity Task Force’s work and a commitment to expand the partnership’s initiatives.  There is a mutual desire to continue collaborating to address major health issues and needs in our area, particularly among the most vulnerable populations: cardiovascular disease which has a direct tie to diabetes, stroke and obesity.


The project will build on and strengthen two key elements of the current Task Force: 1) the use of community navigators for grassroots education and engagement, and 2) working closely with the faith community to educate and engage their congregations.  Funding from the grant will be used to expand and extend the work of the community navigators, which are managed by The Center, and to hire two community health nurses.  Together, the community nurses and navigators will:

  • Offer health education services and referrals to providers
  • Conduct health screenings in the community
  • Assist in obtaining health insurance
  • Collaborate with the Visiting Nurse Association of Utica & Oneida County (VNA) and Senior Network Health – providing support to the patients/clients of these health entities
  • Coordinate clinics with partners, providers and residents in locations frequented by the target populations (places of worship, The Center, the federally qualified health centers, Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center, the NAACP of Utica and the NAACP of Rome, the Mohawk Valley Latino Association offices, local community centers, etc.)


“We look forward to continuing our partnership with MVHS, and utilizing an outreach framework that has proven successful in reaching some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Shelly Callahan, Executive Director of The Center. “By including members of the community as part of a public health strategy to reach diverse communities, we have positively impacted the ability of individuals and families to effectively access or utilize services, which ultimately improves health outcomes.”


“As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board. “Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity, and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact.”

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