Eskenazi Health Leads Charge Against Social Determinants of Health in Indianapolis


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.

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