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The Partnership Center Newsletter

May 22, 2013 Edition

In this issue, you will find…

Dear Partners:

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. In our Featured Update, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlights the importance of community conversations in raising awareness about mental health and helping Americans with mental health conditions get the care they need. The Affordable Care Act has already ensured that new health plans cover recommended preventive benefits without cost sharing, including depression screening for adults and adolescents and behavioral assessments for children. And beginning in 2014, the health care law will provide access to quality health care that includes coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services. Health Insurance Marketplaces will open for enrollment in every state this coming October, allowing more Americans to access affordable coverage.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation about the HHS Partnership Center’s role in helping faith and community stakeholders across the country improve the health of your communities. Among the topics I discussed were our series of interactive webinars on the Affordable Care Act and our work on the Million Hearts initiative to reduce cardiovascular disease. I encourage you to read the conversation and learn more about how our Center can support your congregation or organization’s prevention efforts.

In addition, we invite you to join Office of Child Care Director Shannon Rudisill this Thursday, May 23 for a webinar discussion about proposed regulatory changes to the Child Care Development Fund. The proposed regulation will better ensure children’s health and safety in child care and promote school readiness. On the webinar, you can learn more about the proposed regulation and how you can provide input to the Administration on these changes.

Finally, last week the Partnership Center co-hosted a webinar on National Hepatitis Testing Day with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 was recognized as Hepatitis Testing Day. More than 4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B or C, and up to 75 percent don’t know they are infected. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplants. Because of the Affordable Care Act, many adults with private health insurance plans may get vaccinations for hepatitis and pregnant women may get hepatitis screening at their first prenatal visit with no out-of-pocket cost. Please check here for more details.

Thank you as always for all that you do to improve your community’s health.


Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Acting Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 

Featured Update:

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: One Simple Change

Here’s a number that should give every American pause: 60 percent. That’s the share of Americans with mental health conditions who don’t receive the help they need. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Newtown, we have an opportunity to address this failing. Recent legislation, which expands and secures mental health benefits for 62 million Americans, will help. So will additional actions proposed by the President that will help connect people with support services during the formative years when mental illness is most likely to first appear.

But let’s be clear. Reducing barriers in the health care system isn’t enough. Too many people today fail to get the help they need simply because they’re afraid to ask – or because those around them don’t notice the signs until it’s too late.

When we see someone having a heart attack, our reaction is to rush to help. Yet when we see someone in the middle of a psychotic or major depressive episode, our instinct is often to keep our head down and walk the other way.

This is true not just for strangers, but also for our loved ones. Too often, we fail to offer support. We blame the person with the illness. We tell people to toughen up.

If we’re really going to turn a corner, we need to create a culture in which people are able to talk openly about mental illness and those with mental illness and their families are able to seek help.

That’s why the President asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan and me to launch a national dialogue on mental health. The national dialogue will encourage community conversations around the country to raise awareness about mental health, and reduce the fear, shame, and misperceptions that often prevent people from getting the help they need.

We need to let people know it’s okay to talk about mental illness if they are struggling and urge them to seek help if they need it. We need to encourage people to reach out to friends or loved ones who are struggling. And we need to give people hope by letting them know that treatment is effective and people do recover.

While we know that the vast majority of Americans who struggle with a mental illness are not violent, we also know we must do much more to ensure that those with mental illness get the care they need. That will only happen if we bring mental illness out of the shadows once and for all. All of us – parents, teachers, faith leaders, health providers, neighbors, and friends – have a role to play in making this happen.

Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on April 28, 2009. Since taking office, Secretary Sebelius has led ambitious efforts to improve America’s health and enhance the delivery of human services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including young children, those with disabilities, and the elderly.

Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for Public Health: Q&A with Acacia Salatti

This past April, NewPublicHealth, a blog of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spoke with Acacia Salatti about the Partnership Center’s prevention efforts in U.S. communities.

NewPublicHealth: What is the role of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships?

Acacia Salatti: Our office is an open door for faith and community stakeholders. We see it as a two-way partnership: our Center is able to provide information on health and human services programs, and we are able to gain a deeper understanding about what other types of best practices are happening in the community. We are one of 13 faith and neighborhood partnership offices in federal agencies and we all work to together to help faith and community stakeholders create a positive impact in their communities.

NPH: Why is prevention important to the office and how does the office align with the National Prevention Strategy?

Acacia Salatti: Without prevention, how are we going to be able to create and sustain healthier communities? One critical issue that the Surgeon General highlights in the National Prevention Strategy is the need to convene diverse partners and we do that. One of our key strengths is our ability to bring together all different types of stakeholders to talk about public health and prevention. We have a Health Systems Learning Group, which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has supported, which evolved out of a series of stakeholder meetings hosted by the White House and our office. The goal is to create strategies that will focus on preventive care. So, for example, we’re working with health systems, community health centers, and with faith and community stakeholders to close care gaps and address coordination and lack of capacity.

NPH: What are some of the efforts you are taking in engaging communities to help individuals enroll in insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Acacia Salatti: We have been hosting monthly ACA webinars in both English and Spanish. Over the course of two years we’ve done close to 80, which have helped community leaders understand new opportunities for coverage under changes such as new rules for behavioral health coverage and the Medicaid expansion. What is so critical is that people can’t take advantage of new services and benefits unless they know about them. So we continue to work with faith and community stakeholders so that we can get that information to local communities as easily as possible.

NPH: How can public health help leverage partnerships with faith-based communities?

Acacia Salatti: I think the ways are just really countless. Faith communities have been working in the public health arena for decades, which is so important for us to recognize. They have been hosting health clinics, partnering with their local health departments, initiating community gardens – all kinds of critical activities. I think for us it’s about helping them take those efforts to the next level. For example, we’re working on the Million Hearts initiative in trying to reduce cardiovascular disease. We’re providing community and faith leaders toolkits and other resources and connecting groups with other people on the ground. And then they take that information and reach into vulnerable and other hard-to-reach populations. They know their communities, they know what works, they know what doesn’t work, and so they do it in a variety of different ways – such as a congregational bulletin insert or having someone from a local community health center speak to their community about the services available at the health center.

A great example is what they’ve been doing to help prevent seasonal flu. HHS and Walgreens have a public-private partnership and through that we’ve been able to provide community leaders with flu shot vouchers for community residents. That has been made even easier by Walgreens bringing mobile clinics into communities.

And last year we hosted a minority health summit together with the HHS Office of Minority Health and the National Association of County and City Health Officials during NACCHO’s annual meeting. We did that because we wanted to help provide local health departments with great ideas and partnerships and best practices taking place in other neighborhoods and faith-based communities. Health departments are under a lot of budget constraints, as we all are, and are just trying to figure out how to do their job effectively and so may not know what other groups are doing and where they may be able to partner. We’ve gotten a lot of really great feedback on the summit but to me the most amazing thing was looking at all the public health officials sitting right next to community and faith leaders talking about the issue of public health and innovative approaches and learning from each other. That’s my job – to see how we can bring people and strategies together for the public good.

Health Centers to Help Uninsured Individuals Gain Affordable Health Insurance Coverage

Obama administration provides $150 million for health centers to offer enrollment assistance nationwide

Last week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new funding to help more uninsured Americans enroll in new health insurance coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. Approximately $150 million will help community health centers provide in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured individuals across the nation.  About 1,200 health centers operate nearly 9,000 service delivery sites nationwide and serve approximately 21 million patients each year. 

“Health centers have extensive experience providing eligibility assistance to patients, are providing care in communities across the Nation, and are well-positioned to support enrollment efforts,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Investing in health centers for outreach and enrollment assistance provides one more way the Obama administration is helping consumers understand their options and enroll in affordable coverage.”

With these new funds, health centers will be able to hire new staff, train existing staff, and conduct community outreach events and other educational activities. Health centers will help consumers understand their coverage options, determine their eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options.  Community health center staff will provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This funding opportunity was issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and it complements and aligns with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service funded navigator program.

Last week’s funding announcement is part of the administration's larger effort to make applying for health insurance as easy as possible. For example, earlier this Spring, we released a single, streamlined application that was shortened from 21 to 3 pages. We are committed to providing the type of assistance that Americans need to ensure that they have access to affordable health care.

“Health centers work in communities across the country, giving them a unique opportunity to reach the uninsured in their communities and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the health care law,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D, R.N.

Click on the link To view the files, click on the magnifying glass next to the file title. You can then download the files after registering on the same page.

For information on applying for this funding opportunity, visit

For a list of health centers eligible to apply for this funding visit

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit  To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit

Reminder: Navigators Program Funding Announced, Applications Due June 7

Starting October 1, 2013, consumers in all states will be able to choose new affordable health insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Some states are setting up a State-based Marketplace, other states will work with the federal government in a State Partnership Marketplace, and the remaining states will have a Federally-facilitated Marketplace.

No matter what state they live in, consumers can get help as they apply for and choose new insurance options. You can help provide that assistance in a number of different ways: by becoming Navigators, in-person assistance personnel, or certified application counselors. In addition, agents and brokers can help consumers enroll in new insurance options.

A total of $54 million is available for the Navigators program. The funding announcement was released on April 9 and can be found at; search for CFDA # 93.750.

For a fact sheet on the different types of consumer assistance, visit: Note that Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are certified by the Marketplace to perform many of the same functions as the Navigators and in-person assistance personnel – including educating consumers and helping them complete an application for coverage. However, they would not receive funding from the state or federal government for consumer assistance. Examples of possible certified application counselors include staff at community health centers or hospitals or non-profit organizations. Certified application counselors would be required to complete comprehensive training.

To access the proposed rule released April 3, 2013, visit:

For more information about Navigators, including continuing updates, visit:

For a fact sheet on the Navigators program, visit:

FAQs on the Navigators Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found here:

The Navigator Funding Notice conference call pre-application call recording and transcript can be found here, under Navigator Grant FOAs in April:

To sign up for more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, go to:

If you have questions on the Navigator grants, please email

Enroll America Replay of Navigator Webinar

Enroll America recently hosted a webinar on the Navigator program. A video replay of the Enroll America webinar, slides, and related materials are available now in their webinar archives. More information is also available on

Additional materials include:

Health Insurance Marketplace Application Simplified and Shortened

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced to three pages, and the application for families is reduced by two-thirds. The consumer-friendly forms are much shorter than industry standards for health insurance applications today.

In addition, for the first time consumers will be able to fill out one simple application and see their entire range of health insurance options, including plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and tax credits that will help pay for premiums.

 “Consumers will have a simple, easy-to-understand way to apply for health coverage later this year,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The application for individuals is now three pages, making it easier to use and significantly shorter than industry standards. This is another step complete as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year.”

The online version of the application will be a dynamic experience that shortens the application process based on individuals’ responses. The paper application was simplified and tailored to meet personal situations based on important feedback from consumer groups.

Consumers can apply online, by phone or paper when open enrollment begins October 1, 2013. There will be clear information provided about how to complete the application, and how to access help applying and enrolling in coverage.

This consumer-focused approach will facilitate the enrollment of millions of Americans into affordable, high quality coverage while minimizing the administrative burden on states, individuals and health plans.

For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit:

Heart Attack Prevention focus of Women’s Health Week

The HHS Partnership Center celebrated Women’s Health Week by offering webinars in English and Spanish on knowing the signs of a heart attack for women. Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat is a campaign sponsored by the HHS Office on Women's Health and facilitated in Spanish by the HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs to identify the signs of a heart attack and know what to do when you have one.

To learn more about the Make The Call, Don’t Miss a Beat campaign, please visit the women’s health website at and view the press release for Latinas here: A 30 second Public Service Announcement (PSA ) can be found here:

PowerPoint slides are also available by downloading them from this link in English and this link in Spanish. Posters, cards and magnets with the signs of a heart attack for women, in English and Spanish, can be ordered from the Office on Women’s Health by calling 1-800-994-9662.

CCDF Proposed Regulations Webinar for Faith-based and Community Stakeholders

Last week, HHS announced a plan to improve child care through regulatory changes to the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). Many faith-based and community child care providers serve children who receive CCDF subsidies. The proposed regulation will better ensure children’s health and safety in child care and promote school readiness. Please join us for this webinar to learn more about the proposed regulation and how you can provide input to the Administration on these changes.

We encourage you to forward this registration notice to partners or affiliates in your network that provide child care or are connected to programs that provide child care in local communities.

To register for this CCDF webinar, click here.

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time: 1 – 2:30pm EDT

Hunger Is a Health Issue, and One Health System’s Approach to Addressing It

By Heidi Christensen, Associate Director for Community Engagement, HHS Partnership Center

How many times have you heard that the key to weight loss is eating less and exercising more? It’s all about calories in and calories out, right?

If only it were that simple.

As many of the HHS Partnership Center’s community partners know, there are complicated social circumstances that contribute to the poor health of our nation’s families. One of those “determinants” is the lack of access to healthy and affordable food.  Populations with the greatest risk of obesity are often the same community members wondering from day to day where their next meal is coming from. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the very same time communities are struggling with obesity, over 16 million children live in food-insecure households.

And that’s what one health system discovered when it sought to address the high levels of obesity they were seeing in primary care – a correlation between obesity and obesity-related diseases and their region’s higher-than-national average[1] of food-insecure households. Hunger is its own health issue.

For the staff at ProMedica, a nonprofit healthcare organization serving northwest Ohio and southern Michigan – where between 18 to 19% of households are food-insecure – it was a matter of connecting the dots to demonstrate how addressing hunger in the community can bring positive impacts in the physicians’ offices, clinics or acute care settings.  Food-insecure individuals (at all ages) experience more colds, stomach aches and migraines, and suffer from generally poor health. For children, the effects of food insecurity can include iron deficiency, and negative effects on cognitive and physical development as well. Food-insecure pregnant women are more likely to deliver underweight babies.

According to ProMedica’s Barb Petee, “As long as hunger continues unabated, health status declines while health costs continue to rise. It’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and equally true that an individual can be fed nutritiously for far less than the cost for treating an illness associated with, or exacerbated by, hunger or food insecurity.”

As the largest employer in the region, ProMedica is in a unique position to convene organizations and community leaders to develop strategies that will positively impact the health of the population.

With the help of its community partners – a list so extensive it takes up two pages in its community report – ProMedica has committed itself to educating all of its constituents about the devastating effects of hunger on individual health, general well-being and community stability. These constituents range from board members to physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals, to civic and business leaders, educators, and individual citizens.

Through an effort called Come to the Table, ProMedica is helping the region become a Hunger-Free Community. The effort encompasses a variety of collaborations both within their hospitals and community settings and may serve as a model for other hospital health systems. As part of Come to the Table:

  • ProMedica has launched a food reclamation project in February 2013 that has reclaimed and re-packaged over 10,000 pounds of “fully prepared but un-served food” and donated it to the region’s food pantries and kitchens. ProMedica employees are assigned to work in a local restaurant and are trained to repackage un-served food and coordinate the donations. ProMedica plans to continue to expand the reclamation program to additional restaurant partners and large banquet venues. In partnership with the Hollywood Casino, 10,000 pounds of food was reclaimed from the restaurant buffets alone.
  • In July, ProMedica will begin screening inpatients for food insecurity so that those who are identified can receive emergency meals upon discharge from the hospital. At the same time, they will be referred and/or enrolled in community assistance programs for which they are eligible, thereby ensuring continuous access to nutritious meals.
  • ProMedica has joined with United Way, YMCA, Feed Lucas County Children and other organizations to increase the participation in the USDA’s Summer Feeding Service Program in Lucas County. Prior to their collaboration 1,500 meals were served through this program. One year later, 45,000 meals were served, and by year three, 100,000 meals have fed kids who lose access to the free breakfast and lunches that sustain them during the school year.

On October 10, 2013, ProMedica will host a Hunger Summit in Washington D.C., along with the Alliance to End Hunger, for health care leaders across the country to collectively gather and discuss the effects of hunger on health and how the industry can lead in bringing about meaningful change in improved health status and decreased health costs.

More information about ProMedica’s Come to the Table program and the Hunger Summit can be found on their website,

[1] Alisha Coleman-Jensen, et al, Household Food Insecurity in the United States in 2011, (September 2012)  

National Nurses Week: Faith Community Nurses Healing Hearts, Minds and Spirits

By Heidi Christensen, Associate Director for Community Engagement, HHS Partnership Center

In New Hampshire, members of Lyme Congregational Church are rolling up their sleeves to have their blood pressure checked, while others are delivering homemade soups and homegrown vegetables to their neighbors in need. Still others are developing the skills and strength needed to care for their elderly parents. All this activity falls under the nurturing supervision of the Lyme Health Ministry and its faith community nurse, Ellen Thompson, who says, “Every day, our health ministry reaches out to our community members in new and profoundly life giving ways.”

During National Nurses Week, we were eager to recognize the significant contributions that Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) make as they bring their expertise and skills to encourage the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of their congregations and surrounding communities.

FCNs are registered nurses on the frontline of congregational health, providing tools, critical information and support necessary for community members to live healthier lives. From teaching classes on eating nutritionally to helping folks find access to primary care, in their capacity as health counselors, advocates, educators, and providers of spiritual care, they link healthful practices to faithful living.

While faith community nurse programs evolved out of a Christian parish nursing model of health ministry developed by Granger Westberg, a Lutheran pastor, registered nurses can be found serving a wide range of faith traditions, including congregational nurses in synagogues and Crescent nurses in mosques, as well as networks of registered nurses serving Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh communities.

FCNs are building bridges to primary care providers and may often help with the transitional care needed when a community member is discharged from the hospital. In Memphis, Shirley Perry is a faith community nurse who acts as a “community case worker” responsible for building and improving relationships between Methodist Le Bonheur Health System and the city’s congregations to ensure a continuity of care for patients when they leave the hospital.

FCNs are making significant contributions to prevention efforts. Poised to guide parishioners toward more physical activity, faith community nurses responded to the First Lady’s Let’s Move! challenge by walking over 3 million miles and leading energized, creative community walking programs. The Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, Executive Director of the Northeast Parish Nurse Ministries, said then, “When a parish nurse is leading a walking program, the average number of miles walked per congregation increases dramatically!”

FCNs educate and inform the community on a broad range of topics to support the ongoing health and well-being of the communities they serve. They provide courses that delve into end-of-life issues, mental health first aid, and the National Institutes of Health’s We Can! program for parents and caregivers so that families can make healthier choices. Marilee Tollefson, an FCN serving the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew, Maryland, offers a six-week series of classes in self-care for the caregiver, called SupportU, and hosted three seminars on financial issues for seniors, home safety assessment, and interventions for children of aging parents.

FCNs often lead their congregations in addressing the needs of their surrounding communities by offering lunches for seniors, hosting blood drives and organizing 5Ks and flu shot clinics. Becky Boeckman at First United Methodist Church of Laurel, MD coordinated a free clothing and food distribution event and filled the Capital Area Food Bank with 6,608 pounds of food (which filled the tables of over 256 families). Under the leadership of FCN Carole Whitney, parishioners at Hughes United Methodist Church provide lunches for students of a local elementary school in the Summer when they no longer have the school-time free breakfast and lunch to sustain them.

Jessica Klassen works as a full-time critical care nurse and still finds time to serve as a faith community nurse for her congregation, Birch Bay Bible Community Church, in Blaine, Washington (affiliated with the US Mennonite Brethren Church). She also serves as a hospital liaison between the Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center and the FCNs of the Health Ministries Network. In her own words:

Nurse Jessica Klassen“Most of our churches are well prepared to strengthen our spiritual health. But not all churches are equipped to come alongside to help with physical health issues or to connect the relationship between our spiritual health and our physical health. That’s the passion of a parish nurse.

Think about your health goals for you and your family. You want to prevent illness and injury and to optimize your health and abilities. Now imagine someone in your congregation who shares these goals and works with you to achieve them…

In my case, working in Critical Care…I often see people in “crisis mode,” facing seemingly impossible decisions for loved ones. Knowing that more than one-third of all people in this situation will suffer from post-traumatic stress symptoms, I yearn to help ease these stressful times.

So I arranged to have experts show church members how to plan ahead for difficult decisions that come with aging. We’ve learned about dementia, medication management, senior resources, advanced health care directives and funeral planning. Workshops like this provide a chance for reflecting, preparing and sharing testimonies.”

To read more about Jessica’s experience being a Faith Community Nurse to her community, visit

There are many examples of faith community nurses guiding congregations in the healthy practices that support the well-being of their communities – healing the whole person: heart, mind, body and spirit. We are always eager to learn more about the resources you may be providing for faith community nurses and health ministry leaders in your community, and sharing them with others. Please send us your resources by emailing us at To learn more, follow the links below to discover the difference that faith community nurses are making in your neighborhood!



Adventist HealthCareFaith Community Nursing Basic Prep Program

Adventist HealthCareDeveloping the Church as a Place of Healing & Wellness


Church Health Center – Become a Faith Community Nurse

Faith Community Nurse Network (FCNN) of the Greater Twin Cities

Health Ministries Association

Interfaith Health and Wellness Association (IHWA)

International Parish Nurse Resource Center Faith Community Nurse Fact Sheet

NAD Seventh-day Adventist Church Faith Community Nursing

National Episcopal Health Ministries

Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries (NPNM)

United Church of Christ Faith Community Nurse Network

Union for Reform Judaism– Congregational Nurse Program

United Methodist Parish/Faith Community Nursing

United Methodist Church Health Ministry Network

Spotlight on Staff: Heidi Christensen

Spotlight on Staff: Heidi ChristensenGreetings! As the Associate Director for Community Engagement here at the HHS Partnership Center, my daily task is to find ways to build and support collaborative efforts between faith-based and community nonprofit organizations and HHS that provide access to quality health care and address chronic disease prevention.

As many of you know, maintaining a health y lifestyle has more to do with where we live and our social circumstances than the primary health care we receive.

A recent study[1]  noted that “the interaction between behavior, environmental conditions, and social circumstances represents 60% of factors contributing to early death.”  In other words, our health significantly depends on our human interactions, our behavior, and our social and physical environments lived out in the communities where we live, learn, work and play.

That is why our office at HHS works with diverse groups of faith and community leaders dedicated to building healthier communities – because they are already at work addressing the “social determinants” that affect healthy outcomes and challenge healthy environments.

Faith and community organizations have been providing access to healthy and affordable food by planting community gardens and hosting summer feeding programs. They’ve been offering recovery programs, English proficiency classes, job skills training and transitional help to those re-entering communities after incarceration. They’ve been providing shelter for the homeless, feeding the poor and offering both hope and the healing power of community to those who need it most – and they’ve been doing it for decades.

And so it is essential that any health initiative that seeks to serve the common good be guided by the deep wisdom and rich experience of our community partners. It has been a great privilege to join communities like the Seventh-day Adventists, Islamic Relief and the Girls Scouts of America to witness and celebrate their extraordinary efforts to build healthier communities and equip community-based health leadership.

It has also been particularly exciting to see the work that hospital health systems are doing to engage communities as critical partners in reducing chronic disease and improving the quality of care while reducing health care costs and unnecessary re-admissions.

Alongside the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, our Center has been facilitating a nationwide hospital Health Systems Learning Group made up of participants from 43 institutions who have been working together to lean into the opportunity to strategically engage community partners in an effort to transform health outcomes.

They are demonstrating that by partnering with community service and health providers, faith communities, neighborhood organizations, and the public health sector among others, hospitals will not only be better equipped to address what is ailing their communities but also to deal concretely with the factors driving up health care costs.

In our newsletter today, you can read about the collaborative work that ProMedica, a locally owned health care system serving northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, has initiated to address the experience and causes of hunger.

[1] McGinnis, M.J., Williams-Russo, and Knickman, J.R. The Case for More Policy Attention to Health Promotion, Health Affairs, 2002, Vol. 21, No. 2, 78-93.

Presidential Proclamation: National Day of Prayer

Americans have long turned to prayer both in times of joy and times of sorrow. On their voyage to the New World, the earliest settlers prayed that they would "rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work." From that day forward, Americans have prayed as a means of uniting, guiding, and healing. In times of hardship and tragedy, and in periods of peace and prosperity, prayer has provided reassurance, sustenance, and affirmation of common purpose.

Prayer brings communities together and can be a wellspring of strength and support. In the aftermath of senseless acts of violence, the prayers of countless Americans signal to grieving families and a suffering community that they are not alone. Their pain is a shared pain, and their hope a shared hope. Regardless of religion or creed, Americans reflect on the sacredness of life and express their sympathy for the wounded, offering comfort and holding up a light in an hour of darkness.

All of us have the freedom to pray and exercise our faiths openly. Our laws protect these God-given liberties, and rightly so. Today and every day, prayers will be offered in houses of worship, at community gatherings, in our homes, and in neighborhoods all across our country. Let us give thanks for the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, whether individually or in fellowship.

On this day, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers all those affected by recent events, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, and the explosion in West, Texas. Let us pray for the police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who put themselves in harm's way to protect their fellow Americans. Let us also pray for the safety of our brave men and women in uniform and their families who serve and sacrifice for our country. Let us come together to pray for peace and goodwill today and in the days ahead as we work to meet the great challenges of our time.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2013, as a National Day of Prayer. I join the citizens of our Nation in giving thanks, in accordance with our own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy, and protection.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

Apply to be a Community Economic Development Application Reviewer Today!

The HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Community Services is seeking expert reviewers with a broad array of direct, community economic development experience to help select grantees for the Community Economic Development (CED) program.

The grant review process is mutually beneficial for the Federal government and the reviewers. The Federal government and tax payers benefit from field expertise and knowledge of the reviewers, ensuring that our projects address relevant and emerging issues in the community. At the same time, reviewers obtain knowledge about the Federal grant award process and grant application requirements, which can be taken back to the community and applied when developing proposals.

If you or someone you know is interested in serving as a reviewer, please review the attached brochure or visit the Reviewer Recruitment website (if the link does not work, please cut and paste the following into your web browser:

Please Note: To avoid conflict of interest, individuals from organizations that are applying for CED or JOLI funding this year will not be accepted as reviewers. If you have any questions, please email us at:

Let’s Move Faith and Communities:
Upcoming We Can! webinars

We invite you to join Let’s Move Faith and Communities for a special series of on-line training opportunities that will equip health leaders to run the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) We Can! program in their communities. We Can! is a science-based national education program that provides parents, caregivers and communities with tools and strategies to help families improve food choices, increase physical activity and reduce screen time.

We Can! offers two core curricula:

  1. The Energize Our Families: Parent Program is a multiple-session curriculum designed to provide parents and caregivers with the knowledge and skills they need, along with practical tools, to help families maintain a healthy weight. Specific topics include shopping for healthy food on a budget, controlling portion sizes, increasing physical activity in youth and reducing family screen time.
  2. Media Smart Youth®: Eat, Think and Be Active! is an after-school program designed to help young people ages 11 to 13 understand the connections between media and health and to help youth build media analysis and production skills. The program uses nutrition and physical activity examples to help youth think critically about how media influences the choices they make.

To register for a We Can! webinar, please click on one of the dates below:

Webinar on "Media Smart Youth®: Eat, Think and Be Active!"

Wednesday, May 22, 12-2pm EDT


Webinars on "Energize Our Families: Parent Program"

Wednesday, June 12, 12-2pm EDT. This webinar is being co-hosted by the National Episcopal Health Ministries.

Wednesday, June 26, 1-3pm EDT

In addition, in March, First Lady Michelle Obama recognized two winning videos of the Let's Move! Communities on the Move Video Challenge for their terrific work to make their communities healthier. Watch the winning videos and check out Communities on the Move to see what other faith-based and neighborhood organizations are doing across the country to improve the health of their communities!

Upcoming Events

Interactive Webinars on the Health Care Law

The HHS Partnership Center continues to host a series of webinars for faith and community leaders. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session.

To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. Please click on the title of the webinar and fill out the registration form. After registering you will receive an e-mail confirmation containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact us at  if you have problems registering or if you have any questions about the health care law.


National Webinars

May 23, 2:00 p.m. ET – The Health Care Law 101

A presentation on the main provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the health care law, and how to access care in your community. Information on the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to help enroll others in health insurance, and how to receive updates on implementation of the law will be shared.


June 5 at 1:00 pm ET – Q and A on the ACA

If you have questions about the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, this is the webinar for you! Questions that have been asked about the health care law will be answered as well as new questions submitted online. Please send your questions for the webinar, with your name and organization listed, by close of business June 4 to

Empowering America's Grassroots

Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Grants Forecast is a database of planned grant opportunities proposed by its agencies. Each Forecast record contains actual or estimated dates and funding levels for grants that the agency intends to award during the fiscal year. Forecast opportunities are subject to change based on enactment of congressional appropriations.

When funding is available and an agency is ready to accept applications, the agency will issue an official notice, known as a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), which will be available on how to apply. 

As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community non-profits can pursue. All of these grant programs are competitive. It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant opportunity is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.


Grants Listings

Title: National Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning

Description: The Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), plans to award one cooperative agreement to support a National Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning (Center). Through the Center, the grantee will partner with the ACL/AoA to assist the National Network on Aging (Network) to implement objectives that help older adults, especially low-income women and women of color to afford access to secure retirements by avoiding incidences of fraud or financial exploitation.

Eligibility: Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: May 30, 2013

Grant administered by the:Administration for Community Living


Title: OJJDP FY 2013 National Girls Institute

Description: Through this program, OJJDP seeks to support its National Girls Institute (NGI) to advance the understanding and application of promising and evidence-based prevention, intervention, treatment, and aftercare programs and services for at-risk and juvenile justice- involved girls. NGI accomplishes its mission through a broad range of activities, including training and technical assistance (TTA); information dissemination; collaboration with researchers and program developers; partnership with federal, state, and local agencies; policy development; and other leadership functions

Eligibility: Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: May 30, 2013

Grant administered by the: Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention


Title: Promoting, Strengthening and Enhancing Disease Prevention by Collaboration with Targeted Stakeholders

Description: Working through targeted stakeholders, including WIC staff, coalitions, stakeholders and parents, the awardee will increase accurate information on social media and will educate WIC staff about vaccine recommendation and best practices. These activities will in the long term reduce barriers and lead to the reduction of morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases.

Eligibility: Community-based organizations, Faith-based organizations, Hospitals, Nonprofit with 501C3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education), Nonprofit without 501C3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education)

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: June 5, 2013

Grant administered by the: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Title: PPHF 2013 Cooperative Agreement to Support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges

Eligibility: This cooperative agreement funding opportunity is open to self-employed individuals and private and public entities. The regulation implementing Affordable Care Act Section 1311(i), 45 C.F.R. § 155.210, requires that at least two types of entities serve as Navigators in each Exchange, and that at least one Navigator be a community and consumer- focused nonprofit. We also note that during their term as Navigators, individuals and entities are not permitted to receive any direct or indirect consideration fro m a health insurance issuer connected to the enrollment of individuals into QHPs or non-QHPs. 

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: June 7, 2013

Grant is administered by the:  Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight


Title: Refugee Microenterprise Development Projects

Description: The broad goals of the Refugee Microenterprise Development Project are to: 1. Assist refugees in becoming economically self-sufficient by owning and managing a small business, 2. Provide seed money to refugee serving organizations to start and develop microenterprise program that will serve refugees at sustained and expanded levels, and 3. Help mainstream organizations develop the experience of serving refugee populations. In order to achieve these objectives, award recipients under this announcement will provide pre-business and post-business technical assistance as well as capital to refugee entrepreneurs.

Eligibility: Eligible applicants for refugee programs under 412(c)(1)(A) are "public and private nonprofit agencies." Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: June 10, 2013

Grant administered by the: Administration for Children and Families


Title: OVC FY13 Services for Victims of Human Trafficking

Description: Approximately seven cooperative agreements of up to $400,000 each will be awarded to provide timely, high-quality services to victims of human trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended, and to enhance interagency collaboration and coordination in the provision of services to such victims. Funding will support either a comprehensive array of services for all trafficking victims, or specialized services for trafficking victims. Funding also will support efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to victims through the development of interagency partnerships and professional training, public outreach, and awareness campaigns.

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations with a demonstrated history of providing victim assistance, social services, legal services, shelter or mental health services for victims of human trafficking are eligible to apply.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: June 10, 2013

Grant administered by the:U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime


Title: It Takes a Village: Building State, Local, Tribal, Territorial Partnerships for Community Preparedness and Response

Description: This project is intended to improve community preparedness and response and to strengthen resiliency-which will reduce injury related morbidity and mortality in public health emergencies and strengthen community and national recovery in the aftermath. The awardee will innovatively identify key issues and lessons learned that could impact communities, states, and regions and that will foster national collaboration. This can be done through improved preparation before an event by including community members in planning for known threats in their community; equipping community members to respond in the event of a public health emergency; and by providing the tools and resources to better recover in the aftermath.

Eligibility: Nonprofit with 501 (c) 3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education), Nonprofit without 501(c) 3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education), Community-based organizations, Faith-based organizations.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: June 18, 2013. In addition, a Letter of Intent is requested but not required. Letter of Intent Deadline Date: May 24, 2013.

Grant administered by the:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Title: National Innovative Partnerships for Addressing Obesity through Environmental Supports for Nutrition and Physical Activity

Description: CDC is issuing this FOA as one of many efforts to reverse the U.S. obesity epidemic and to prevent projected obesity-related health and economic consequences. CDC seeks to create or enhance national innovative collaborations to raise awareness, engage in collective action, and facilitate environmental and system improvements that promote healthy eating and physical activity in places where individuals live, learn, and work (e.g., child care centers, hospital and medical care facilities, workplaces, communities, and schools). Under this FOA, organizations will receive funding to increase awareness of and promote implementation of environmental and system supports across states, at least one in each of the ten HHS regions, to create healthier places and lead to improvements in healthy eating and physical activity behaviors across the U.S.

Eligibility: Nonprofit with 501 (c) 3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education), Nonprofit without 501(c) 3 IRS status (other than institution of higher education), Community-based organizations, Faith-based organizations

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: June 24, 2013

Grant administered by the:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Title: FY 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement for Reception and Placement Program

Description: The purpose of the R&P Program is to promote the successful reception and placement of all persons who are admitted to the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. For the purpose of this announcement, “refugee” is defined as a person admitted to the United States under section 207(c) of the INA, as amended, or a person to whom eligibility for the resettlement assistance available to individuals admitted under section 207(c) has been extended by statute.

Eligibility: Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last day to Apply: July 1, 2013

Grant administered by the:U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration


Title: Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects

Description: Through the Community Economic Development program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CED-HFFI), the Office of Community Services (OCS) seeks to fund projects that will implement innovative strategies for eliminating food deserts while achieving sustainable employment and business opportunities for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals whose income level does not exceed 125 percent of the Federal poverty level

Eligibility: Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: July 2, 2013

Grant administered by the:Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Community Services


Title: Academic-Community Partnership Conference Series

Description: The purpose of this grant opportunity is to bring together academic institutions/organizations and community organizations to identify opportunities for addressing health disparities through the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).  The objectives of meetings conducted as part of this award will be to: (1) establish and/or enhance academic-community partnerships; (2) identify community-driven research priorities, and (3) develop long-term collaborative CBPR research agendas.

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply.  The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: October 17, 2013

Grant administered by the:Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development