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  • Foundation for Quality Care, Inc. Mouth Care Without a Battle: Improving Oral Health Care for Older Adults in Nursing Homes Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $255,568

    Poor oral health—which is linked to pneumonia and can lead to hospitalization, intensive care, or death—is a rising issue for elderly people living in nursing homes. In particular, nursing home residents with dementia experience limited quality and frequency of oral health care because nursing home staff often feel that they are not adequately prepared to manage difficult behaviors that typically arise during care of these patients. Mouth Care Without a Battle (MCWB) is an evidence-based approach to daily mouth care (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing, care of the gums, and denture care) for people with cognitive and physical impairments. Combining best practices in dementia care and oral hygiene, the pilot program has shown improvements in health and overall quality of life for this population. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Foundation for Quality Care (FQC) a grant to scale up MCWB so as to improve oral health care for nursing home patients with dementia.

  • Asian American Federation of New York Planning Grant: Addressing Asian American Mental Health Needs in New York City Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $75,000

    Mental illness is among the leading contributors of disease burden for New Yorkers, and the burden may be even more pronounced among Asian-American communities. In New York City, Asian Americans are the only racial group for which suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death. However, Asian Americans are less likely to seek and receive mental health care because of cultural stigma, insurance limits, and a dearth of culturally and linguistically competent service providers. Given the current trends, there is a need to develop strategies to reduce stigma and other barriers to mental health services, increase awareness of the mental health needs of pan-Asian residents in New York City, and foster greater collaboration between formal service systems and community resources to reach these residents. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Asian American Federation of New York (AAF) a planning grant to identify and raise awareness of mental health issues affecting the New York City pan-Asian community and barriers associated with seeking and receiving care.

  • Be More America Breaking Bias in Health Care Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $150,000

    Unconscious biases are ingrained habits of thought that lead to errors in how people perceive, reason, and make decisions when interacting with others from different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. In the health care setting, unconscious bias can affect a provider’s line of questioning and lead to misdiagnosis; it can also affect body language and other subtle cues that cause patients to lose trust, withhold information, or fail to follow medical advice. To address the impact of unconscious bias on health care, Be More America created a series of in-person training workshops designed to reduce physician bias in medical decision-making. Based on the success of the in-person workshops, it then developed a prototype online training program. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded a grant to Be More America to scale up this work by deploying the online training program at New York City-based hospitals.

  • Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania From Crisis to Solutions: Cost Analysis and Interventions for Aging Homeless Adults Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $123,599

    Homelessness has steadily increased in New York State, with the large majority of the State’s homeless population residing in New York City. People who experience homelessness often have a complex array of illnesses or other serious disabilities, which leads to high use of hospital-based care and health care costs. As the homeless adult population ages, there will be corresponding increases in health care needs and costs. Studies have found that homeless people age prematurely and have very high rates of geriatric health issues at younger ages compared with people who are not homeless. To mitigate this potential crisis, the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy & Practice (Penn SP2) will conduct multistate, data-driven research and analysis on the health care utilization, needs, and costs of people who are homeless and ages 55 and older. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded a grant to Penn SP2 to support New York State’s participation in this national effort.

  • University of Rochester Project ECHO – Expanding and Achieving Financial Sustainability of ECHO PSYCH in New York State Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $50,000

    Project ECHO®, which originated at the University of New Mexico, is an innovative model of health care education and delivery that can significantly improve the treatment of chronic and complex diseases for rural and underserved populations. Unlike the typical telemedicine service model, the Project ECHO model uses Web-based videoconferencing to create virtual grand rounds, which dramatically increase access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas by providing front-line physicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions. It does this by engaging primary care physicians at rural sites in a continuous learning system and virtually partnering them with an interdisciplinary team of specialist mentors (e.g., psychiatry, nursing, social work, psychology, pharmacy) at an academic medical center. In 2014, NYSHealth awarded a grant to University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) to launch ECHO GEMH, the first Project ECHO clinic in New York State. ECHO GEMH equipped primary care providers in rural counties across New York State with the skills to provide geriatric mental health services in underserved communities. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded a grant to URMC to support the continuation and expansion of Project ECHO.

  • New York University School of Medicine Enhancing Rural Health Surveillance by Using Geospatial Analysis to Identify Local Disease Hot Spots Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $300,000

    Without the necessary resources to perform sophisticated health surveillance, Sullivan County Public Health Services is limited in its ability to target and prioritize initiatives to help improve health outcomes for the county’s residents, of whom more than 80% live in rural regions. Accurately capturing and estimating health surveillance data to pinpoint the health needs of residents is often too costly or labor intensive for most rural health departments. To address this issue, New York University School of Medicine’s (NYU) Health Geographics Research Initiative has developed a method for using data to create highly detailed and localized maps of disease burden. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to NYU to work with Sullivan County Public Health Services on developing and validating its method to enhance rural health surveillance.

  • Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, Inc. Replicating the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Model in Staten Island Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $199,318

    LEAD is an evidence-based, harm reduction-oriented program designed to reduce low-level arrests and recidivism and promote better health outcomes. Instead of making an arrest for certain criminal offenses (such as low-level drug charges), police officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys work together to divert individuals directly to a case manager, who then facilitates access to a comprehensive network of services for drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, and other health-related issues. These individuals receive intensive case management and targeted social services, with greater coordination among systems of care. In 2014, the City of Albany, with NYSHealth support, launched its own LEAD program, making it the first jurisdiction on the East Coast and only the third in the nation with this program. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice (Katal), to help replicate LEAD on Staten Island, which has been struggling with its own devastating opioid epidemic.

  • American Cancer Society Statewide Convening on Electronic (E-Cigarette) and Other Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $50,000

    Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), otherwise known as e-cigarettes and vapes, are a relatively new and controversial phenomenon in New York State, nationally, and internationally. E-cigarettes are a growing concern for many in the public health field because of their rapid uptake and popularity—especially among youth—and a lack of research on their impact on health, particularly in regards to e-cigarettes as a gateway for future cigarette use in teens. The perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, the absence of enforcement regulations on indoor use, and the popularity of vape shops as a destination for socializing are also contributing to the problem. With research on the dangers of ENDS emerging and new policy directives underway, now is a good time for stakeholders within New York State to take stock of these developments and lay out next steps. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the American Cancer Society (ACS) to convene a group of expert stakeholders to discuss and recommend statewide strategies to address ENDS use in New York State.

  • Adaptive Design Association, Inc. Integrating Adaptive Design Services into Managed Care Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $25,000

    Standardized equipment for children with disabilities serves many purposes, but cannot meet all the requirements of children with nonstandard body types and learning needs. Adaptive Design Association (ADA) builds custom adaptations to wheelchairs, hearing aids, and modified computers—using a collaborative design process with members of the child’s care team—that allow children with disabilities to be more independent at home, in school, and in the community, as well as improve their physical and emotional health. Currently, the majority of adaptations and educational services provided are covered by grants from private and community foundations, which is not sustainable. As New York State moves towards a new reimbursement system under Medicaid Redesign and the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, ADA received funding from the New York Community Trust to hire a managed care consultant to explore reimbursement possibilities for its services. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded ADA a grant to supplement the consultant’s work to ensure financial sustainability of ADA services.

  • Fund for the City of New York, Inc. Collaborative Connections to Care Fund for Mental Health Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $300,000

    At least one in five New Yorkers will experience a mental health disorder in any given year. Front-line staff at community-based organizations (CBOs) report that many clients often appear depressed or anxious, which they suspect may interfere with clients’ ability to succeed in programs. However, with limited mental health training, staff at these organizations are unprepared to deal with clients’ emotional and/or behavioral problems. In response to this issue, New York City has released a plan to guide an overhaul of the City’s mental health services. A key component of the initiative is Connections To Care (C2C), a public-private partnership that aims to build mental illness prevention and treatment capacity of CBOs that work in the areas of workforce development, education, and early childhood services. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded Fund for the City of New York a grant, in partnership with the Altman Foundation, to support CBOs in building their capacity to help low-income New Yorkers receive mental health care.

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