VHA Community Partnership Challenge - National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
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VHA Community Partnership Challenge

Back-to-back Community Partnership Challenge winner ‘embodies the heart of the community’

For the second year in a row, the VA Ann Arbor Medical Center Toledo Community Based Outpatient Clinic (Toledo CBOC) has been honored as a winner of the Community Partnership Challenge (CPC). The CBOC staff’s outstanding work in 2019 connected Veterans to health care services and gainful employment through the Helmets to Hardhats program, and their 2020 work provided more than $344,000 in free legal services to Veterans facing issues like home eviction, bankruptcy, or discrimination.

“The continued work accomplished by the Toledo CBOC has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Georgeanna Bady, health systems specialist for the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Office of Community Engagement (OCE). “Their work year after year embodies the heart of a community that’s dedicated to serving Veterans and is a shining example of how other smaller clinics can do big things for our nation’s heroes.”

Since 2015, 895 Veterans have benefitted from the partnership between the Toledo CBOC and the Toledo Bar Association. The community-based partnership provides free monthly walk-in clinics to help Veterans with noncriminal legal issues that affect social determinants of health (SDOH), which are conditions in environments where Veterans live learn, play, worship, and age. SDOH was the theme of the 2020 VHA CPC.

The Helmets to Hardhats program is a nationally recognized employment opportunity specifically designed for Veterans. The local chapter organized by the Toledo CBOC grew from 28 Veterans in 2016 to 35 in 2018, and was a great example of building public trust, which was the theme of the 2019 VHA CPC.

“By supporting Veterans through employment opportunities, job training, or legal services, you are also reducing clinical factors that are improving Veteran health outcomes,” added Bady. “These partnerships should be considered best practices, and we are sharing these stories with the hope that other communities across the country will create meaningful partnerships of their own.”

VHA provides comprehensive health services to America’s Veterans, and knows that partnerships between VHA and nongovernmental organizations result in more options and increased resources for Veterans.

The CPC is an annual contest that recognizes local and national partnerships that serve Veterans. By spreading the word about successful partnerships and encouraging their replication across VHA, the CPC is inspiring more VHA staff members to form partnerships of their own, further expanding the delivery of services and supporting the high reliability model by being a learning organization.

OCE manages the CPC each year to highlight outstanding community-level partnerships, and to encourage others to create similar partnerships to benefit Veterans. OCE’s mission is to serve as a trusted resource and a catalyst for the growth of effective partnerships at the national, state, and community level and as a facilitator and access point for public and private entities interested in partnering with VHA to benefit Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

For more information on OCE’s work or to contact OCE for partnership opportunities, please visit: https://www.va.gov/healthpartnerships/.

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Posted September 10, 2020