Wheeler Awarded Grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to Increase Access to Health Care for Underserved Patients in Greater Hartford

Aug 02, 2018

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded Wheeler a three-year grant in the amount of $225,219 for a new Collaboration for Community Health program to increase access to health care for underserved behavioral health patients at risk for additional chronic health conditions, including diabetes, in Greater Hartford.  With support from this grant, Wheeler will collaborate with the Hispanic Health Council to increase access to health care services for underserved community members, encourage positive outcomes for high-risk patients, and provide a person-centered approach to care for all patients.  A full-time community health worker will be hired by the Hispanic Health Council as part of this effort.


“Close collaboration between Wheeler and the Hispanic Health Council enhances a strong connection in the community,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler.  “Patients in this program will be more engaged in care, better able to manage their chronic care conditions, have improved health outcomes, and reduce usage of the emergency department for their health needs.”

“This collaboration enhances the Hispanic Health Council’s partnership with Wheeler and furthers the mission of both organizations,” said Jose Ortiz, president and chief executive officer, Hispanic Health Council. “This community health worker will facilitate self-management and communication between patients and Wheeler, and perhaps most importantly, help patients to address the social determinants that have such a major impact on their health.”

The Collaborative for Community Health program includes:

  • Community engagement and outreach to expand access to Wheeler’s Hartford Family Health & Wellness Center services, including behavioral health, primary care, dental, support services as well as the community health worker program.
    • Implementation of DIALBEST (Diabetes Among Latinos Best Practices Trial) in which the new community health worker, in collaboration with Wheeler and HHS teams, will assess and engage individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension in various aspects of primary care, nutrition counseling and additional interventions to manage this condition, including facilitation of their ability to address the socials determinants that impact their health and use of health care.
  • Home visits by the Community Health Worker to provide health education, engagement, care coordination, peer support, advocacy, and monitoring for medication adherence, and assistance with addressing social determinants of health for behavioral health patients who have chronic health conditions.
  • Nutrition supports provided by a Wheeler nutritionist to enhance patients’ knowledge on how to access healthy foods in the community, how to prepare culturally familiar foods in healthier ways, and how to incorporate healthy activity into their daily routine.
  • Weekly Multidisciplinary Case Review Team Meetings, including Wheeler care providers (physicians, nurses, dentists and hygienists, clinicians, care coordinators, nurse care managers, and medical assistants) and the Hispanic Health Council community health worker.