GOSHEN — A new group has formed at IU Health Goshen Hospital, and it has a message for the community: Generosity heals.
The IU Health Goshen Foundation has been created to address cancer research and five health issues that were identified in a 2012 community survey — obesity, smoking, diabetes, access to primary care and access to mental health services.
“If we improve those six priorities, then we’re going to have a healthier community,” said Randal Christophel, the hospital’s president and CEO.
But, Christophel said, the foundation cannot do it alone.
“We don’t have the resources to do it all ourselves,” Christophel said. “We have a lot of great ideas, but we don’t have all the good ideas, and so let’s get with people who have interesting, innovative ideas and get with people who are passionate. When you link passions to ideas to generosity, not only are you accomplishing great things for the community, you’re attacking those six main needs.”
Over the next few months, the foundation will be joining forces with individuals in Elkhart County, businesses and other organizations to generate new ways to approach the community’s health needs.
“We’re going to create the resources that people can go use,” Christophel said. “It might be creating a primary care clinic that helps low-income people. It might be creating programs in schools that teach the kids about smoking or obesity.”
Partnerships are key to the new foundation’s success, added Mark Lindemood, the group’s chief philanthropy officer.
“Generosity is arguably a part of healthy living,” he said.
Christophel said he hopes that in 20 years when the next community health survey is conducted, cancer research, obesity, smoking, diabetes, primary care and mental health services will no longer be the area’s top concerns.
“I think in 20 years, wouldn’t it be great to look back and say this is the healthiest community in Indiana,” Lindemood echoed.
The new foundation is separate from the 44-year-old Goshen Hospital and Health Care Foundation, a nonprofit group that also supports projects and programs at IU Health Goshen Hospital.
The new foundation’s strategy to improve health in Elkhart County employs what Christophel calls population health management, reaching out to groups in the community, whether that’s employees, Medicare recipients or others. The plan also represents a paradigm shift for the hospital, Christophel said.
“We’ve went from a long period of get sick, get hurt, come see us, we’ll take care of you, and we are absolutely moving toward wanting to help you stay healthy and become healthier and not come see us,” he said.
The foundation’s board will meet for the first time at the end of July with plans to roll out its first project in the next month or two. The group has created a wish book of items that people can buy to help patients at the hospital. For example, donors can give as little as $1 to buy snacks for kids waiting in the emergency department or as much as $7,000 for a ceiling-mounted lift used to move patients. Christophel, Lindemood and board members plan to speak with service groups and hold roundtable discussions to get the word out about the new foundation.
“We want to talk to people with ideas,” Christophel said. “We want to talk to people who are passionate.”