Ascension Health announced that the Urban Church Wellness (UCW) program is the 2013 recipient of the Partnership in Ministry Award. The award identifies a program that exemplifies four characteristics:
1. Encompasses the Mission, Vision and Values of Ascension Health
2. Promotes Integration and Networking
3. Offers New Dimensions in Care or Service
4. Promotes Good Stewardship of Resources
Urban Church Wellness uses a collaborative approach with churches to improve the health of congregants and surrounding communities through health education, screening and health promotion. Churches joining UCW identify a Church Health Liaison (CHL) to coordinate programming within the churches. The CHL is a formal or informal leader within the church, most often a volunteer, who serves as a bridge between CSM resources and church congregants. CSM uses parish nurses and community health workers to coordinate CSM resources such as the Mammography Coach, health screenings for hypertension and diabetes, evaluation of stroke risk factors, Advance Directives education and chronic disease treatment through CSM’s Chronic Disease Management Clinic (CCDM).
Membership in UCW includes more than 40 churches from the Church of God in Christ of the Northwest Jurisdiction and 32 churches from the Wisconsin Baptist Convention. Several Catholic churches and independent churches are also counted in the membership.
Urban Church Wellness has also been successful in community-wide health improvement. Most notably, UCW has sponsored the Safe Sleep Sabbath to provide congregants information about Safe Sleep principles to avoid infant death in sleep situations. Recently, UCW sponsored Know Your Numbers Day to screen hundreds of congregants for hypertension and refer uninsured people to the CCDM Clinic.
The Partnership in Ministry Award provides $50,000 a year for two years to support UCW expansion into a greater number of churches while strengthening education to CHL’s and community health workers.