One way state hospital assns. help members tell their stories

AHA News

“Community Connections” spotlights the many ways in which hospitals serve their communities. AHA members can learn more by visiting

Every year the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), like many other state and regional hospital associations across the country, releases an annual report that describes their members’ efforts to help build healthier communities. These annual community benefit reports help tell how hospitals across the country – urban and rural, large and small – are making their communities healthier in ways that are as diverse as the needs of each community. They are one way of helping the public and policymakers learn more about hospitals’ commitment to the people they serve.

New Jersey’s hospitals contributed $2.3 billion in community benefits in 2011, according to the NJHA’s recently released report. It includes examples of “community benefit in action” – real-life stories of people whose lives were touched by hospitals’ health screenings, community outreach initiatives, healthy lifestyle programs and community donations. For more on NJHA’s report, click on:

The following stories are from the report and reprinted here with NJHA’s permission as an example of how state hospitals associations are telling their hospitals’ stories.

Calendar contest builds stroke awareness

Strokes can strike at any time – seven days a week, 365 days a year. So what better way to raise awareness of the warning signs of stroke than on a calendar?

Kennedy Health System used that approach to engage and educate a wide audience in its Stroke Awareness Calendar Contest. Kennedy University Hospital in Washington Township partnered with a local school, Orchard Valley Middle School, to educate students about stroke and then challenged them to use their creative talents to depict the warning signs of stroke in their own original artwork.

Staff nurses from Kennedy’s intensive care unit worked with Orchard Valley’s school nurse to provide information packets to the students about the warning signs of stroke and how timely medical care can greatly mitigate the effects of a stroke. Students were taught the importance of calling 911 immediately for anyone exhibiting stroke symptoms.

Thirteen winning entries were selected from the students’ creations, and they were featured in
a calendar. Two-thousand copies of the calendar, created on a shoestring budget of $5,000, were distributed through the school and the hospital. The modest, lowcost effort cut across generations in raising stroke awareness – first by educating the young artists, and then by sharing their knowledge and creativity with the broader community.

This simple act of community engagement and awareness is easily replicated and sustainable, an example of the health care community’s creative approach to grassroots engagement.

Catching a fall before it happens

Each year approximately onethird of elderly adults experience a fall, and while the majority of these occur outside the walls of a health care instit...

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy

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