YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley provided resources to alleviate the Mahoning Valley’s greatest health problems in 2021. In any given year, the foundation funds over 50 projects.
In all, the foundation provided more than $4 million in 2021 to support programs that improve the health of Mahoning Valley residents, according to Paul Homick, president.
“We recognize concerns around the pandemic, the opioid crisis, high infant mortality rate, patients who can’t afford medications, and more,” he says.
In response to the pandemic, the foundation approved a $1.5 million emergency grant to expand Mercy Health’s intensive care unit capacity, add emergency department tents, convert an operating room to accommodate surgery for COVID-19 patients, add an incubation station for babies born with COVID-19, and provide additional assistance for its Hispanic Health, Prescription Assistance and Resource Mothers programs.
Over a half-million dollars was allocated to address the ongoing opioid crisis. Among the projects the foundation supports is a peer recovery coach program that helps patients through all phases of their recoveries.
The region’s infant mortality crisis requires the attention of the entire community, Homick says. The foundation supports Resource Mothers program, which pairs young, first-time mothers with an experienced woman who is trained to serve as a guide. A Mercy Health fatherhood support program helps new and soon-to-be fathers learn how to best care for their children.
Centering Pregnancy brings women with comparable due dates together for group appointments with a knowledgeable health care provider. These group appointments, which are in addition to the women’s one-on-one appointments with their physicians, expand on topics women discuss with their doctors.
Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley also supports the Meds-to-Beds project established in 2017, known as the Margaret Mary Siegfried Pharmacy Project. The program enables inpatients to receive up to one month’s supply of their prescription medications upon discharge. Thanks to donor support, prescriptions can be provided regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
“Providing free cancer screenings, access to diagnostic testing and care remain at the forefront of Mercy Health Foundation’s mission,” Homick explains. Prostate cancer screenings were provided through support from Mercy Health Foundation and Man Up Mahoning Valley, a component program of the foundation, he notes.
The volunteer board of trustees approved funding for the following programs: $444,000 for the Dental Clinic and the mobile units, $337,000 for Hispanic Health, $414,000 for Resource Mothers, $224,000 for Centering Pregnancy, $217,000 for the Prescription Assistance Program, $226,000 for the Mobile Medical Clinic, $323,000 for the Stepping Out Exercise Program, $167,000 for Homecare Telehealth and a total of $560,000 for opioid initiatives.
The foundation brought back Panerathon last year after skipping the previous year because of the pandemic. Approximately $215,000 was raised for the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center and Joanie’s Promise. These funds ensure any resident in need of breast diagnostic services has access to the best care available, regardless of ability to pay.
“Though the last year has presented many challenges, we are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the Mahoning Valley. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we are able to continue programs that lift up the most vulnerable members of our community,” Homick says.
“For the year ahead, our goals are even more ambitious as we continue to address the specific needs of our community. It is the coming together as a community, for our families, neighbors and friends, that makes this work possible,” he says.