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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.