Blue and You Foundation donates over $500,000 in grants

 What do a splash pad, a nurse case manager, a cooking class and a telemedicine system have in common? 

These are just four examples of health-promoting requests funded by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas as part of $3,467,872 in annual grant awards for 2020. The grants will fund 40 initiatives in 23 of Arkansas’ 75 counties. 

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001. Since then, it has awarded more than $36 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies for 1,922 health-improvement programs in 248 communities and in all 75 counties. 

“Our grants this year went to programs throughout the state that address issues and needs that organizations have identified as important to their communities. These include physical and mental health programs for all ages, opportunities to participate in exercise and good nutrition and building the future medical workforce that will care for all our citizens,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. 

In Lower Delta, the grants given were:

• Mainline Health Systems, Dermott ($54,677) – The Diabetic Retinal Assessment Compliance Program will increase the compliance rate of retinal exams by 50% within the diabetic population in southeast Arkansas, by purchasing seven RetinaVue cameras. 

• Boys & Girls Club of Phillips County, Helena-West Helena ($45,382) – The Reducing BMI in Phillips County Youth Program will encourage healthy lifestyles, using the Triple Play Wellness Program and the Recreational Sporting Development Program. 

• Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, Lake Village ($115,075) – The Youth Mental Health First Aid Program will train 30 individuals as instructors to improve youths’ access to mental and behavioral health resources in 12 south Arkansas counties. 

• McGehee Hospital ($150,000) – The Expanding Chronic Care Management (CCM) Program will deploy an expanded CCM team by hiring one nurse and one administrative assistant to serve 300 patients in southeast Arkansas who have chronic health conditions. 

• University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) ($150,000) – The Weevil Save AR Students Program will enhance the UAM Simulation Laboratory by adding simulation equipment, laboratory furnishings, manikins and first-aid responder training equipment.

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