Organizations: Community Health Works
Georgia recently was diagnosed as one of the “un-healthiest” states in the country, and Community Health Works (CHW) is trying to improve our fitness levels to peak performance.
The grant-funded nonprofit, based in Macon, is a coalition of medical, community and education leaders focusing on Bibb, Houston, Monroe, Crawford, Jones, Peach and Twiggs counties.
“Our vision is simple: better health for everyone, so that our children and our children’s children can live longer, healthier lives,” says CEO Fred Ammons. “We develop innovative solutions and compassionate advocacy for underserved, financially compromised people, but we’re not exclusively helping the uninsured – we’re trying to help everybody.”
The projects, he says, generally fall into three categories: prevention and wellness; chronic disease management; and more efficient delivery of services through coordination of electronic health records.
CHW, with a staff of 16, launched the Food Access Program at Mulberry Street Market, which accepts EBT payments for locally grown produce, as does the mobile “Veggie Van,” which takes leftovers to low-income areas. The group also provides transportation for chemotherapy patients. “Some people miss a treatment simply because they can’t get a ride,” Ammons says, “and that’s a terrible reason for someone to lose their battle with cancer.”
So far this year, the organization has paid for 757 mammograms, prostate and colorectal screenings and reached 29,730 individuals through public education programs.
“I spend a lot of time crunching numbers,” Am-mons says, “but when I go out and meet an uninsured person who is getting treated for a large mass that we caught in one of these screen-ings, I see the impact these programs have – they save lives.”