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Funded partner spotlight: Strategic partnerships impact community health at SAMMinistries

Posted on January 5, 2017

A closer look into Methodist Healthcare Ministries' grant-making.
By Jane Hevesi, community grants specialist

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

SAMM logo-colorDo you know the formula for impacting the health care needs of individuals and families? One local San Antonio organization, SAMMinistries, thinks they may have found the answer: integration. SAMMinistries has been a funded partner of Methodist Healthcare Ministries since 2009 and is an interfaith ministry whose mission is to help the homeless, and those at risk of becoming homeless, attain self-sufficiency by offering, with dignity and compassion, shelter, housing, and services.

Through collaborative grant development in 2015, SAMMinistries and Methodist Healthcare Ministries co-developed a new program model to holistically meet the health care needs of the individuals and families SAMMinistries serves. To effectively address the complex of needs of families experiencing homelessness, programming was intentionally designed with integration in mind, coordinating medical, dental, mental health, and wellness services, to impact health outcomes and treat the whole person. Critical to the program's success are community partnerships, which has become the backbone of the Integrated Health and Wellness Program (IHWP).

"Integrated programming recognizes the fact that humans are not two-dimensional and that homelessness is not solved by solely providing housing needs, but by addressing the multitude of needs that determines one's overall health - the Social Determinants of Health," stated Elizabeth De Los Santos, Grants Officer at SAMMinistries.

By leveraging new and existing partnerships with community partners, SAMMinistries provides a wide-range of services that would not be possible for the organization to provide alone. The early success of the Integrated Health and Wellness Program was grounded in new and existing collaborations with community partners. Through co-locating at SAMMinistries: medical and dental services are provided by UT Health Science Center San Antonio; mental health services are provided by Our Lady of the Lake and by an onsite Licensed Professional Counselor; and other heath related services, such as yoga, are provided by Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurses. These partnerships provide a learning environment for medical and dental residents, helping them strengthen skills by working in an integrated setting and providing quality care services to populations in need.

"Coordinated services ensure that a multitude of needs are addressed and that families do not fall between the cracks, reducing barriers to accessing holistic approaches to services," said De Los Santos. "Caring for the whole person helps that individuals build resiliency, coping better during times of stress. By focusing attention on the health and wellness of our clients, in addition to providing classes in financial management, parenting, and other basic skills, families can see measurable improvement, positioning them for success when transitioning to stable housing and moving forward with their lives."

Encouraging participation in activities that improve the health and well-being of family members, and building health care habits in family units, also leads to improved physical and mental health outcomes, helping to prevent complicated and costly health issues later in life.

How are you impacting health in your community through partnership?

To learn more about grant-making at Methodist Healthcare Ministries, visit www.mhm.org/about/grantmaking. Learn more about SAMMinistries at https://www.samm.org/

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