Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Verner Center for Early Learning and YWCA of Asheville chosen as Premier Cares Award finalists

Verner and YWCA two out of only six programs recognized from across the U.S.

Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy®  program and the YWCA of Asheville’s DiabetesWellness & Prevention program have both been honored by Premier, Inc. as finalists for the 23rd annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award. Rainbow In My Tummy was recognized for increasing nutritional literacy of children, families and early childhood caregivers. Diabetes Wellness & Prevention was recognized for addressing health disparities among low-income patients who either have diabetes or are at high risk for developing the condition.

A panel of national healthcare leaders selects the Premier Cares Award winner and five finalists, all of which receive cash awards for use in further improving their programs. The Cares Award program spotlights these community-based healthcare initiatives and helps other organizations learn to replicate the unique programs by featuring information about them on the Cares Award website. Sponsored by Premier and its member hospitals, the Cares Award recognizes exemplary efforts by not-for-profit community organizations to improve the health of populations in need. Representatives of Verner and the YWCA were honored during Premier’s annual Governance Education Conference, February 23-25.

“Every year our Cares Award program honors six outstanding organizations that are helping to care for a medically underserved population in their community,” said Susan DeVore, Premier’s president and CEO. “Rainbow in My Tummy is improving the health of communities by providing nutritious food and education to children, child care centers and families. Diabetes Wellness and Prevention is making a true impact by helping to reduce the incidence of diabetes in at-risk patients through weight loss and exercise.”
Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy program received $24,000 as a finalist. Created in 2008 by Verner Center for Early Learning, program staff members work with early care and education care centers to provide training, coaching and resources needed to change the food culture surrounding children ages birth to kindergarten. Goals of the program include significantly increasing the quality of food served to young children and shifting preferences away from processed foods.

From 2012 to 2014, several Head Start centers in the Asheville, North Carolina, area reported a significant drop in obesity rates among children as a result of the program’s work to help child care centers eliminate harmful ingredients from their menus.

“Rainbow In My Tummy exists because we love children and believe that ALL children deserve access to a wide variety of fresh, healthy, naturally colorful foods that taste good and are cooked from scratch. Being recognized by Premier enables us to further expand our services and replicate our program in other child care centers in WNC and across the nation.” Bronwen McCormick, Rainbow In My Tummy® Director

Watch the Rainbow in My Tummy video here.

The YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program also received $24,000 as a finalist. The program was started by the YWCA of Asheville in 2004 to align fitness offerings with their mission of addressing health disparities among low-income and at-risk people. Based on a community health needs assessment, organizers learned that more than 11 percent of area residents had been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 6 percent had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The program helps patients understand the disease process, promotes regular exercise and healthy eating, teaches participants to use their medications correctly and helps patients manage their disease with appropriate and consistent lifestyle changes.

Services are offered by Diabetes Wellness and Prevention to many patients at sliding scale cost– including access to fitness facilities and personal training sessions. The program has helped significantly reduce blood sugar/A1c levels among those participating in the program.

In a film about the program shown at the awards ceremony, Susan Edwards, a Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program participant, shared that in the ten months she had participated in the program she had lost 30 pounds and several inches. Ms. Edwards says: “It's been incredible to know that we're all here working towards a goal of getting healthy, and [we] have the encouragement and the education to make it happen.” Since the film was produced Ms. Edwards has lost an additional 10 pounds, and says that not only her health but the health of her whole family has really improved.

Watch the Diabetes Wellness & Prevention video here.
This year’s Cares Award recipient is Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities of Orofino, Idaho. The program provides adult and pediatric psychiatry specialty services using teleconferencing to help care for a remote population of at-risk patients.

About the Premier Cares Award
Premier has presented the Cares Award annually since 1991, when it was created by Dr. Monroe E. Trout, former CEO of American Healthcare Systems, one of Premier’s heritage organizations. The program has provided more than $3 million to more than 100 organizations nationwide. The Cares Award winner receives a cash prize of $100,000, while five runners-up receive $24,000 each. The competition is open to not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for more than two years, are providing creative solutions to health status improvement, can provide documentation of outcomes and impact on a specific population, and have programs that can be replicated in other communities.

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