By: Courtney Thomas—
Muncie, IN– Indiana University Health has stepped up its commitment to make Indiana a healthier state by investing $100 million in a fund that will address critical health issues affecting Hoosiers over the long term.
The newly established Community Impact Investment Fund will be administered by the Indiana University Health Foundation, which will use income from the fund to award yearly grants to address social issues affecting health outcomes across the state.
“Healthcare must go beyond treatments in a medical setting,” said Dennis Murphy, president and CEO of IU Health. “This new fund will enhance IU Health’s mission to make Indiana a healthier place, by pooling financial and other resources to combat negative social determinants of health, such as substandard housing, lack of education and literacy, poor lifestyle habits and adverse childhood experiences.”
Research shows that 70 percent of health measures are dependent on environment and behaviors. To address the holistic nature of good health, grants from the IU Health Community Impact Investment Fund will be used to develop strategies in four broad areas: healthy living, educational attainment, workforce development and place-based solutions to improve neighborhoods and alleviate poverty.
The first round of grants has been awarded, including one that will fund a Muncie neighborhood revitalization project. Over three years, $1 million will be given for revitalization in the Thomas Park-Avondale and South Central neighborhoods in southeast Muncie. The area has struggled with food insecurity, poverty, substance use disorders, vacant/unsafe housing, lack of healthcare access and low educational levels.
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and the 8twelve Coalition will use the funding to bring new trails, bike lanes and an expanded sports center, along with greater food accessibility and more attractive housing options. There are over 20 organizations involved in this effort including:
• Members of the 8twelve Coalition
• Ross Community Center
• Ball Brothers Foundation
• Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to fundamentally change the landscape of this community,” said Jeff Bird, MD, president, IU Health East Central Region. “The Muncie Neighborhood Impact Project will create new opportunities for health, recreation, wellness and–most of all– hope for area residents.”
Other grants awarded across the state will fund a healthy families program in Indianapolis, a diversion center dealing with opioid abuse in Bloomington, and an undertaking between faith congregations and hospitals in Central Indiana to better care for socially isolated people with chronic health issues. The fund is set up to continue well into the future, with new grants awarded annually.
The $100 million commitment by IU Health will be in addition to its community benefit investments, which last year amounted to $711 million. The amount includes free care, existing investments in community health services, medical education, financial and in-kind contributions and losses on federal healthcare programs. IU Health also has invested heavily in its 10-year goal to improve Indiana’s poor overall health rankings, with care initiatives across its 16-hospital system and Riley Children’s Health network focusing on obesity, infant mortality, tobacco cessation and behavioral health.
Establishment of the fund comes as IU Health launches a new initiative called One Measure that encompasses and tracks all the community-facing IU Health programs that influence healthy living habits — one measure is an expression of our values and our commitment to improving the health of the citizens of Indiana.
To learn more about One Measure and the Muncie Neighborhood Impact Project, go to OneMeasure.org.
About Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital serves as a tertiary referral center and teaching hospital for East Central Indiana and part of Indiana University Health. IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and maintains 1.2 million square feet of facilities. It is part of an elite group of hospitals with Magnet designation for nursing excellence. More than 17,700 patients are admitted every year and more than 300,000 outpatient procedures are completed annually. Jeff Bird, MD, is President. Learn more at iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.
About Indiana University Health Foundation
IU Health Foundation leverages the power of philanthropy to support the IU Health goal of making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. IU Health Foundation improves the health of individuals, communities and the state by focusing its philanthropy on people, progress and partnerships. Learn more at iuhealthfoundation.org.