Our community - the many cities we serve in the central San Gabriel Valley - and our hospital are inextricably linked. Methodist Hospital's mission has always been to serve the whole community - not only those who come to our doors, but also those who may be overlooked, neglected or even unseen by society. We recognize that a healthy environment is key to building a community that is able to nurture its children, teenagers, families and seniors. Today, building on our long tradition of service to local residents, our Community Outreach department utilizes the strengths of the hospital and those of other well-established community organizations to establish innovative strategies to reach the most vulnerable sectors of our population, and to meet many other pressing health care needs in our area. Our goal is to improve the health status of our community by empowering citizens to make healthy life choices.
In recent years, our core mission has been formalized. Beginning with a Community Needs Assessment in 1996, demographic and social data identified critical health care issues in the population and formed the foundation for the hospital's first outreach plan. In 1998, two major programmatic goals were established:
(1) To establish a viable health ministries program in local churches and to open the program to other interested faith communities;
(2) To partner with local school districts in six cities to provide much-needed assistance to school nurses, who are often a child's only connection to healthcare. We work with community-based groups, not-for-profit organizations and agencies to help create a healthier public. You can read or download our latest (2004) Community Needs Assessment by clicking on the links (to PDF files) to the right of this page.
Methodist Hospital's Health Ministries program develops and supports holistic health programs in faith communities, allowing us to reach a large population that would be untouched by traditional methods. By building and enhancing relationships with churches and synagogues, we can more accurately determine the perceived needs of various communities and work in partnership to develop a plan to meet those needs. The program gives autonomy to individual faith communities to design and implement health initiatives that work best for them.
Through our School Partnerships program, Methodist Hospital reaches out to children and teenagers who are at risk for health problems. Working with school nurses gives the hospital a greater opportunity to access and potentially impact the health of students. We host monthly networking meetings for school nurses to discuss priority health issues and needs, and school nurses can utilize the hospital for resources and continuing education.
Whether through one of our free health screenings, a free health education lecture or the formation of a task force to address barriers to obtaining health care, one can see Methodist Hospital hard at work in many areas. This work is often difficult to measure. How does one quantify the dollars saved by the health care system when a person eats healthy foods, exercises regularly and chooses not to excessively smoke or drink? Yet, we know we are making a difference. People are our testimonials: people who tell us how much better they feel after losing weight and exercising regularly; people who feel they were given a second chance at life because their cancer was detected early; people who are frail and elderly who did not get the flu or pneumonia because they were immunized. Perhaps more than anything else, Community Outreach is about people touching people.