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Since its second year as a funder, VNA has provided periodic grants to Health & Medicine Policy Research Group to support Albert Schweitzer Nursing Fellows, post-baccalaureate nursing students who present limited-duration health education programs, of their own design, at community-based sites in underserved areas in Chicago. Fellows’ projects often focus on topics of special import to specific neighborhoods and community groups such as life skill classes to empower women orphans, adoptees, and foster youth; interactive workshops to increase awareness of type 2 diabetes for the Latinx community; and wellness education to support healthy aging in the North Lawndale neighborhood. In addition to immediate impact, the program achieves longer term impact as well, as over the years several Nursing Fellows have shared that the Schweitzer program allowed them to confirm their commitment to serving underserved populations as they advance in their careers.
Another Health Education/Promotion grantee is Equal Hope (formerly the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force). Begun in response to research by the Sinai Urban Health Institute showing that African American women in Metropolitan Chicago were dying at twice the rate from breast cancer compared to their White counterparts, Equal Hope educates women of color about the disparity in breast cancer outcomes and the importance of mammogram screenings. It has built a coalition of providers that review the quality of breast health services and outcomes, expanded its focus to promote cervical cancer screening and care as well, and more recently, begun to link women without a medical home to primary care providers. Outcomes show success in reaching communities at high risk and in improving screening rates, but perhaps the best outcome of all is a substantial lowering of breast cancer mortality rates among Black women in Chicago.