The Department of Community Outreach and Valley Parish Nurse (VPN) program continues to serve as the hub of Griffin Hospital’s outreach activities, accounting for more than 40,000 community contacts in 2011. These contacts included fitting bike helmets, training adults and children in CPR, and providing health education and information at senior centers, shopping centers, neighborhoods, companies, and community events and fairs. This number also included more than 7,500 health screenings – which can help identify problems when they are most treatable – and nearly 11,000 referrals for follow up care.
However, the VPN program is just one of the ways Griffin strives to promote community health and wellness while closing racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic gaps in health status. The hospital collaborated with community partners to create new initiatives such as the Valley Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the Health Initiative for Men (HiM), and the Valley Initiative to Advance Health & Learning in Schools (VITAHLS).
The Valley Women's Health Initiative (WHI) is comprised of members of the community working toward a common goal of addressing and improving women's health issues including breast cancer awareness and heart disease. As part of their on-going effort to support women's health in the Valley, the Women's Health Initiative presents the annual Women Making A Difference in the Valley luncheon and the annual Tea Party benefit. Funds raised at these events go to the Griffin Hospital/Valley Breast Care Fund, which aims to ensure that no person, regard-less of age or socio-economic condition, is denied screening mammograms or diagnostic testing for breast cancer.
Griffin Hospital launched the Health Initiative for Men (HiM) in June to help inspire men to have an annual physical and raise awareness about men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Ansonia businessman Frank Michaud and his wife, Judy, established a special "Health Initiative for Men Fund" at the Valley Community Foundation, which enabled the hospital to roll out its first men’s health campaign: cards that could be given to men encouraging them to "get to the doctor" for their annual check-ups. Approximately 20,000 of these free cards, which included men’s health screening guidelines and checklists, were distributed at Griffin Hospital, local businesses, and through area schools.
Working in partnership with Valley School Districts, Griffin Hospital and the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center (PRC) launched the VITAHLS childhood and adolescent obesity prevention initiative in October 2011. The mission of the initiative is to develop, implement, evaluate and sustain a comprehensive Valley-wide school-based childhood and adolescent obesity prevention program that focuses on nutrition and physical activity to reduce the prevalence of obesity and to promote health and academic readiness in students in Pre-K to grade 12.