Author Archives: Marina Peirano

St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild Raises Funds for their $1 Million Gift to the Ackerman Center

Eskenazi Health Foundation is excited to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Decorators’ Show House & Gardens, a cherished annual event hosted by St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild. This year, a team of over 20 interior designers and landscape architects worked to transform the elegant Sylvan House at Northern Estates, located on the westside of Indianapolis.

The tour of this historic residence, helped St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild meet their goal of raising $1 million dollars for the John & Kathy Ackerman Mental Health Professional Development Center at Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center. The Ackerman Center aims to cultivate a skilled and diverse pipeline of mental health professionals to address the ever-growing mental health and substance use disorder needs in Indianapolis. This year’s Show House and Gardens event reflects a shared commitment to enhance mental health services and transform lives within the community.

Since 1907, St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild has been an invaluable partner in advancing Eskenazi Health’s mission. Their annual Show House and Gardens fundraising event, the longest-running tour of its kind in the country, has generated more than $14 million to support various Eskenazi Health programs and services. From funding essential medical units to championing wellness initiatives, their contributions have significantly enhanced the health and well-being of Eskenazi Health’s patients and staff.

Eskenazi Health Foundation extends profound gratitude to St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild, the homeowners, designers, landscape architects, sponsors, donors, corporations and tour attendees who make this annual event possible. Your unwavering support empowers Eskenazi Health to continue providing exceptional care and services to all members of the community.

To learn more about Eskenazi Health’s partnership with St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild visit

Eskenazi Health Celebrates Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus Unveiling

Eskenazi Health and Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County proudly celebrated the unveiling of its newest and largest health center, the Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus, through two momentous ribbon-cutting ceremonies earlier this spring. The first, a community-wide gathering held on March 21, welcomed residents, stakeholders and supporters, while the second, celebrated with family and friends of Thomas and Arlene Grande.

Both ribbon-cutting ceremonies marked pivotal moments in Eskenazi Health’s ongoing commitment to improving health equity across Indianapolis. They also underscored the generosity and support of individuals like Thomas and Arlene Grande, whose $2.5 million lead gift to the Eskenazi Health Foundation’s Beyond Barriers Campaign exemplifies a shared vision for addressing the social drivers that impact the health and well-being of residents in Marion County and across Central Indiana.

Nestled at 6002 E. 38th St., the 95,000 square-foot state-of-the-art health center represents the culmination of a nearly $90 million investment in Marion County’s primary care facilities, serving comprehensive, innovative and community-focused health care on the east side of Indianapolis. Guided by community input, the Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus offers an array of services designed to address the holistic health needs of patients. From primary care and mental health services to financial counseling and lifestyle medicine, the campus embodies Eskenazi Health’s commitment to whole-person care. It’s more than just a health care facility; it’s a community hub, designed to foster meaningful connection, health and well-being.

The Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus represents the power of collaboration, community engagement and philanthropy, and it reflects years of planning, dedication and hard work from countless individuals, all united in their commitment to creating a longer, healthier, future for all Indianapolis residents. Through continued collaboration and innovation, Eskenazi Health remains steadfast in its commitment to providing accessible, compassionate care to everyone in the community.

“A healthy community is one where every neighbor can thrive, with access to healthy food, mental health and physical health care. We are delighted that this new facility and its programs will help members of this neighborhood achieve their healthiest lives,” said Tom and Arlene Grande.

Eskenazi Health Employees Join the Movement

Eskenazi Health Foundation is pleased to announce a significant stride in creating positive change across Indianapolis with the launch of the employee campaign on May 14th. Employee engagement in the Beyond Barriers Campaign marks a pivotal step in Eskenazi Health’s commitment to tackle social determinants of health and improve health equity for all members of the community. Continuing until the end of September, this initiative aims to mobilize widespread support and participation from every Eskenazi Health team member.

Participation in the employee campaign extends beyond financial contributions; it embodies the collective’s dedication to address the diverse needs the community’s most vulnerable residents. Employee involvement will not only showcase internal belief in the campaign but also strengthen conversations with external funders, both new and existing.

Led by a devoted and passionate committee of employee leaders, the employee campaign is set to inspire and empower each employee to contribute in meaningful ways. Over the coming months, the Employee Campaign Committee leaders and Eskenazi Health Foundation staff will engage with various employee groups to share the campaign’s goals and garner support.

Eskenazi Health Foundation has witnessed the profound impact of the employees’ collective efforts in the past, and is now calling on all employees to be a part of a truly transformative movement. Recently, Eskenazi Health physicians set an inspiring example by raising over $1.5 million for the Beyond Barriers Campaign.

Employee participation in this philanthropic endeavor will not only position Eskenazi Health as a trailblazer for promoting health equity in Indianapolis but also nationwide. Together, everyone can make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Eskenazi Health 2024 Employee Campaign Committee
Donna Burks
Amy Carter
Josh Conley
Todd Cox
Kelley Gardner
Terri Garner
Todd Harper
Father Rob Lyons
Sherri Marley
Melinda Rosa
Katie Shepherdson
Lori Thorp
Allison Thurman
Tabitha Vaughn
Roz Wolen

Eskenazi Health Leads Charge Against Social Determinants of Health in Indianapolis

Over the past year, Eskenazi Health has led the charge in tackling social determinants of health and enhancing health equity for Indianapolis residents. Among several accomplishments of 2023, the following four achievements highlight the profound impact of this work:

Health-Related Social Needs Screening
In 2023, Eskenazi Health Centers underwent a significant transformation to better serve their patients’ essential needs. By redesigned care processes and enhanced screening systems, they tackled multiple barriers to care, including transportation and food insecurity, head-on. This initiative led to a substantial increase in health-related social needs screenings, with Eskenazi Health Centers screening approximately 30,000 individuals every month for food security alone. With steadfast dedication, Eskenazi Health remains committed to extending their reach and support in 2024, ensuring that even more community residents receive the resources and assistance needed to live longer, healthier lives.

Fresh for You Market
Eskenazi Health’s Fresh for You Market (FFYM) expanded its impact with the launch of the Fresh for You Market on Wheels. Originally established in 2022 at the Frank & Katrina Basile Pavilion, the FFYM offers fresh groceries and lunch options for those facing food insecurity. The FFYM on Wheels now serves multiple neighborhoods, aiding patients and families in need. Additionally, within a timespan of only three months, over 2,500 food vouchers were redeemed by individuals screening positive for food insecurity. Through initiatives like FFYM on Wheels, Eskenazi Health not only provides meals but also fosters resilient communities, transforming the narrative around food and promoting healthier lifestyles for all neighborhood residents.

Health Equity Zones
Eskenazi Health’s three Health Equity Zones represent a collective effort to transform designated geographic areas into vibrant, healthy communities. These zones are where Eskenazi Health and community partners are already working together to build healthy neighborhoods, address long-term social determinants of health, increase life expectancy and improve well-being across Indianapolis.

In 2023, active listening was at the core of establishing the Health Equity Zones as well as in fostering meaningful dialogue and building robust neighborhood partnerships. Through intentional and inclusive engagement, Eskenazi Health collaborated with community stakeholders in each Health Equity Zone to host two public meetings, two stakeholder sessions and six focus group meetings tailored to English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole speakers.

Early initiatives and partnerships are already demonstrating the Health Equity Zones’ potential, laying the foundation for transformative change by aligning resources with community needs.

Language and Cultural Competency
Over a fifth of patients at Eskenazi Health Centers require care in languages other than English, highlighting the diverse linguistic landscape that shapes health care access in Indianapolis. Interpreters, available both in-person and through virtual services, bridge these language gaps, ensuring effective communication and quality care delivery.

However, despite universal screening for Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), disparities persist among Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients, emphasizing the urgency of addressing language barriers. The surge in Haitian Creole interpreter-assisted visits across the entire Eskenazi Health organization has increased from an average of over 600 per month in 2021 to over 7,500 by the end of 2023. This underscores the demand for tailored health care solutions. Eskenazi Health’s collaboration with community partners to pilot specialized staff training reflects a proactive approach to reducing health disparities and promoting accessibility. This initiative exemplifies the SDOH team’s unwavering commitment to equitable health care access, regardless of language or cultural background.

As Eskenazi Health celebrates the remarkable progress of 2023, both Eskenazi Health and Eskenazi Health Foundation remain steadfast and committed to continuing this vital work in 2024 and beyond.

Transforming Health Equity in East Indianapolis: Introducing Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus

Eskenazi Health Foundation is pleased to announce a transformative step towards enhancing health equity across Indianapolis with the renaming of the new Eskenazi Health E. 38th Street health center to Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus. This achievement is made possible by a generous $2.5 million lead gift from Thomas and Arlene Grande.

The Grandes made their lead gift to Eskenazi Health Foundation’s Beyond Barriers campaign, which focuses on improving life expectancy and health equity across Central Indiana by tackling the barriers to care for our most vulnerable community members. As longtime advocates for Eskenazi Health, with a special focus on the east side of Indianapolis, the Grandes share a deep belief that everyone should have access to high quality care close to home.

“A healthy community is one where every neighbor can thrive, with access to healthy food, mental health and physical health care,” said Tom and Arlene. “We are delighted that this new facility and its programs will help members of this neighborhood achieve their healthiest life.”

The state-of-the-art Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus, scheduled to open in April, represents a beacon of hope for neighborhood residents. The 95,000-square-foot health center will be the most innovative and community-focused health facility on the east side of Indianapolis, offering a wide range of services, including primary care, mental health support and community resources, all under one roof. With a strong focus on improving health equity through leveraging strategic community partnerships, the Eskenazi Health Thomas & Arlene Grande Campus will serve as a hub for holistic wellness, fostering strong community connections and promoting healthier lifestyles for all.

As we celebrate this milestone, we extend our profound gratitude to Thomas and Arlene Grande for their unwavering support and leadership. Their generosity will leave a lasting impact across Indianapolis, ensuring a healthier, brighter future for all of our east side neighbors for generations to come.

Catalysts for Change: Physician Engagement in Beyond Barriers Campaign

Physician engagement in the Beyond Barriers campaign is not just about raising funds; it’s about demonstrating and affirming Eskenazi Health’s commitment to advancing the mission of advocating for, caring for, teaching and serving our most vulnerable neighbors in Marion County.

Since its launch in November 2023, the physician campaign has been a beacon of unity and purpose, championed by a dedicated committee of passionate volunteer physician leaders and led by Eskenazi Health physician David Crabb, M.D.

Over the last several months, Eskenazi Health Foundation has been meeting with clinical departments across the health system to ignite enthusiasm and participation. The Anesthesiology department has set an incredible example with a 100% participation rate, encouraging and motivating other clinical groups to show their support as well. Every physician’s involvement not only advances the campaign but also demonstrates Eskenazi Health’s steadfast determination to improving health and well-being for everyone in Indianapolis and beyond.

As the physician campaign comes to an end in May 2024, Eskenazi Health Foundation remains committed to spreading awareness and encouraging participation among all Eskenazi Health physician groups. Together, physicians are not just donors but catalysts for transformative change, advancing Indianapolis towards a future where health equity is available and accessible for all.

$8.5 Million Given to Beyond Barriers Campaign

Eskenazi Health Foundation is grateful to receive over $8.5 million in funding from Regenstrief Foundation and Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and health disparities throughout Indianapolis. These funds, allocated to the Beyond Barriers campaign, are already going to work to improve health and life expectancy in Indianapolis by breaking down barriers to health care for our most vulnerable residents.

The Fairbanks Foundation’s contribution of $3 million will help establish three Health Equity Zones in Indianapolis. These Health Equity Zones unite community stakeholders and local organizations to tackle long-term SDOH, enhancing quality of life and life expectancy for all residents. By combining robust SDOH screening with traditional primary care, the Health Equity Zones ensure equitable access and affordability for all, regardless of socioeconomic status. Additionally, Fairbanks Foundation’s funding will fuel innovative initiatives targeting the root causes of health disparities and enhancing health equity across the community.

The Regenstrief Foundation funding of more than $5.5 million is primarily aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the Health Equity Zones through evaluation. Rather than conducting a single evaluation of integrating social care with medical care, Eskenazi Health will conduct dozens of studies to demonstrate the various components of the Health Equity Zones. “Think of these studies as individual puzzle pieces,” says Christopher Callahan, M.D., Eskenazi Health physician and Chief Research and Development Officer. “As we start to put the puzzle pieces together, we will then begin to answer this much larger, more global question about integrating social care with medical care. Additionally, if there are 1,000 pieces to this puzzle, half or more than half are already in place. We already know that hungry people need food. We know that if we control diabetes, kidney failure is less likely. So much of this work is designing the infrastructure that helps people, especially those who encounter barriers to care, get the intervention we know already works.”

Eskenazi Health Foundation is grateful to Fairbanks Foundation and Regenstrief Foundation for their generous support and commitment to advancing health equity in Indianapolis, one neighbor at a time.

Community Weavers Weave their Way to Heroic Recognition

Eskenazi Health Foundation is pleased to share Eskenazi Health Community Weavers were nominated and recognized as finalists for the 2024 Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) Health Care Heroes Award for their noble work of addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) throughout Indianapolis. The IBJ Health Care Hero Award honors individuals and organizations in the greater Indianapolis area, celebrating their exceptional contributions to enhancing the quality of health care locally.

“We are moved by those who play an integral role in improving the health of their own communities,” stated Dennis Oklak, chair of Eskenazi Health Foundation, and Donna Oklak, co-founder of Impact 100. “Thanks to the Community Weavers’ work, residents can be certain that their good health is a collective goal and accomplishment of their own neighborhoods.”

As part of the Beyond Barriers campaign, the role of the Community Weavers was developed to bridge the gap between community-based organizations and the health care system in neighborhoods where health equity disparities are prevalent. As deeply trusted allies, Community Weavers connect neighborhood residents to health care services and community resources. Eskenazi Health Community Weavers inventory local community organizations to ensure the needs of those they help are matched with appropriate organizations and services. In 2023, the Community Weavers completed over 4,000 SDOH-related encounters and/or community referrals across multiple Eskenazi Health Centers and Indianapolis neighborhoods and connected more than 300 community members to Eskenazi Health to establish a medical home.

The work of the Community Weavers in building trust and connecting Indianapolis residents to the resources they need most can be embodied in the following example:

Amidst the bustling Fresh for You Mobile Market (FFYM) at the W. 38th St. Eskenazi Health center, an elderly Hispanic man approached Community Weaver Kyla. Despite the language barrier, he was able to explain to Kyla that he missed his medical appointment due to a date mix-up and faced not having enough of his critical blood pressure medication. Determined to help, Kyla quickly found an interpreter and guided him to a triage nurse. While Kyla was back at the FFYM continuing to work, the man returned to express his gratitude. He embraced Kyla in a hug and explained that because of her intervention, he was able to get an earlier appointment and receive a timely refill on his medication. Kyla was uplifted to know she had made a meaningful impact on this man’s life.

Community Weavers were recognized as finalists for the 2024 IBJ Health Care Heroes Award for the incredible impact they are making in the health and lives of our neighbors in Indianapolis.

Learn more about Eskenazi Health’s Community Weavers and the noble work they are doing throughout Indianapolis in this recent article published by Indianapolis Business Journal.