Connecting Communities and Caregivers
The U.Va. Health System is dedicated to overcoming the obstacles to good health in southwest Virginia. For more than a decade, it has sent hundreds of volunteers to support the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise, Virginia, and has worked diligently to convert this contact into regular care. This year, the Health System, School of Nursing and School of Medicine collaborated with the Healthy Appalachia Institute and U.Va.'s College at Wise to procure a HRSA grant to help the Health Wagon, a local clinic and community organizer for the RAM clinic, expand and strengthen its services. This grant enabled the Health Wagon to install an electronic medical record system, hire a social worker and nurse educator, and increase its capacity by 25 percent. The grant also provides support to the Health Wagon as a community training site for undergraduate and graduate nursing students. U.Va. continues its collaboration throughout the year through telemedicine consults and specialty clinics as well as providing support for outcomes evaluation for the Health Wagon grant.
Emily Hauenstein, a professor of nursing and director of U.Va.'s Southeastern Rural Mental Health Center received a $693,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to test a prototype program that uses digital storytelling to ease depression, a serious issue for women living in small rural communities.
U.Va.'s Office of Telemedicine is applying expertise gained in deploying its telemedicine network in southwest Virginia closer to home. Thanks to an unprecedented partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, the U.Va. Health System is now implementing the use of in-home medical monitoring to dramatically transform how individuals with chronic diseases manage their health. Widely deployed, such systems could save the nation billions of dollars annually in health care costs. The Health House, two residences in Habitat for Humanity's recently completed mixed-income community, has an easy-to-use monitoring system developed by Intel and with broadband communications donated by Comcast.
The University partnership with Habitat for Humanity was supported by the University community through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, which helped raise needed funds. U.Va. volunteers also contributed more than 1,600 hours of service to make the Health House a reality.