SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Dignity Health Central Coast handed out $424,496 in grant funding to nine community non-profit partnerships in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties during an annual awards ceremony Tuesday morning.
The grants were awarded to the partnerships through a Community Health Improvement Grants Program created by the Dignity Health parent company CommonSpirit Health.
"They all work collaboratively together in order to improve the health and quality of life for the communities in those counties," said Patrick Caster, French Hospital Medical Center President/CEO. "In order to qualify for these grants, there has to be at least three community agencies coming together to submit a proposal for a grant, and that is to address a key community need, and then we make those awards to those collaborations of the agencies together."
According to Dignity Health, criteria for this funding cycle were based on the following priority areas identified in the hospitals 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment: educational attainment, access to primary care including behavioral health and dental health and health promotion and prevention.
"We're just really it's amazing that the community is so supportive and so we can't do this alone," said Caster. "We have to come together, and that's really the reason why we have this structure. It's better together is really our motto."
The following community partnerships were awarded grant funding during Tuesday's ceremony:
Minimizing community health impacts from air pollution, pesticide exposure and extreme heat in Guadalupe and the Santa Maria Valley.
This project will address health disparities in vulnerable populations by enhancing community awareness of specific health conditions, their relationship with environmental conditions (air pollution, extreme heat, and pesticide exposure) that contribute to or exacerbate those health conditions, and how to understand and reduce their risk of experiencing compounding health impacts when conditions for exposure overlap.
Fiscal Agent: Community Environmental Council
One Community Action (OCA)
This project will address the need for substance abuse prevention and youth mental health among low-income, Indigenous, and farm-working youth in Santa Barbara County. In partnership, OCA will engage up to 60 youths in various workshops on substance abuse prevention, health relationships, and other workshops related to youth well-being. OCA will conduct surveys, and assessments to measure the success of each workshop. Ultimately, addressing youth mental health will increase the graduation rate among high school youth.
Fiscal Agent: One Community Action
Food Prescription Program
The Foodbank, in partnership with Mission Hope Cancer Center, will improve the nutritional security of low-income cancer outpatients in the Santa Maria area by removing barriers to food access and providing regular access to nutrient dense foods.
Fiscal Agent: Santa Barbara Food Bank
The Cecilia Oral Project
The project will provide funding for critical dental treatment (comprehensive evaluation, radiographic images, scanning, extractions, implants etc.) that is urgently needed by certain individuals prior to initiating cancer treatment. We will partner with Mission Hope Cancer Center and community dental providers to address the gaps in financial resources and help provide access to dental treatment for approximately 25 uninsured, under-insured and low-income individuals in North Santa Barbara County.
Fiscal Agent: The Cecilia Fund
805 Street Outreach
The project will address the need of bringing showers to two major unhoused populations in San Luis Obispo County, which are in Atascadero and Morro Bay on a weekly basis. As for the rest of the week, outreach will be done throughout San Luis Obispo County, as well as going out twice a month to the Salinas Riverbed/Santa Maria with Dignity Health Street Medicine Outings. Octavia will be used during all of this to help with referrals and data tracking.
Fiscal Agent: 805 Street Outreach
Grief Awareness Treatment and Education Project (GRATE)
The Community Counseling Center, Hospice of SLO County, and the Alzheimer’s Association of the Central Coast are partnering to address grief related behavioral health needs in our community (GRATE: Grief Awareness Treatment Education.) CCC and HSLOC’s clinical counseling programs will collaborate to enhance grief therapy capacity and market affordable, professional clinical services to the community. HSLOC and the Alzheimer’s Association will partner to offer community workshops and group therapy for anticipatory grief.
Fiscal Agent: Community Counseling Center (CCC) of San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo Sobering Center
The San Luis Obispo Sobering Center (SLOSC) is a partnership with San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Department, who will be providing space for the new 10-bed facility at their campus in San Luis Obispo. GSS is proposing to provide full staffing and program support to work with participants in linking them to treatment and shelter options upon discharge, and also provide direct transport to their next program with a warm hand off.
Fiscal Agent: Good Samaritan Shelter
Comprehensive Healthcare for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence in Rural San Luis Obispo County
This project will expand and increase access to Lumina Alliance services for SA/IPV survivors in rural and underserved areas of San Luis Obispo County. An Advocate will accompany the Center’s mobile health unit to address physical and mental health needs related to sexual and intimate partner violence (SA/IPV). Project collaborators will engage in cross training to strengthen existing referral and screening systems to ensure patients countywide receive timely wrap around care.
Fiscal Agent: Lumina Alliance
The Salvation Army Street Outreach
The San Luis Obispo Corps’ Street Outreach program engages individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the county of San Luis Obispo. The Salvation Army works alongside its partners to connect individuals and families to services and eventually become housed. Teams work out of a van fully equipped to provide case management where individuals are living. Case managers provide basic needs, document obtainment assistance, and referrals to other community resources including health information.
Fiscal Agent: The Salvation Army