Integrated Community Planning receives Community Health Award from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded a Community Health Award grant totaling $4,000 to Integrated Community Planning, Oswego. The money will be used for a program that will align tobacco cessation resources and services for pregnant women and mothers of young children by working collaboratively with the Oswego County Health Department, primary care and ob-gyn providers and Oswego County Opportunities.

It will recruit former smokers as peer counselors.

Arthur Vercillo, M.D., regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, presents a grant to Christina Wilson, executive director, Integrated Community Planning.
Arthur Vercillo, M.D., regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, presents a grant to Christina Wilson, executive director, Integrated Community Planning.

At the awards presentation, Arthur Vercillo, M.D., regional president, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, presented the grant to Christina Wilson, executive director, Integrated Community Planning. Pictured above are Christina Wilson and Art Vercillo.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield presented its Community Health Awards as part of its mission to improve the health and health care of the residents of the communities it serves. Altogether, the company presented a total of $25,000 in 2013 Community Health Awards to fund health and wellness programs initiated by nonprofit organizations in Central New York.

The company’s Community Health Awards are awarded to Central New York institutions that positively influence the health of the community. Awards are made based on scope of need, goals of the program, number of people to benefit from the program and positive impact on the community’s health status.

Six additional 501(c)(3) organizations in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s eight-county CNY region were selected from among nearly 60 applicants to receive awards of up to $4,000 each.

They include:

• ACR Health, Syracuse, to fund an Adolescent Health Initiative in Onondaga, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. The targeted prevention program trains peer educators to equip youth at high risk for unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and alcohol or substance abuse with lifelong skills that will help them reduce risky behaviors and make healthy choices.
• Cayuga Community Health Network, Auburn, for its Brush to Crush Cavities Program, which provides in-school education and take-home oral health kits for 900 children in two elementary schools.
• Contact Community Services, East Syracuse, to expand its TeleCare program, a reassurance line through which trained staff provide daily telephone calls to isolated and vulnerable senior citizens or people who have disabilities, are homebound or living alone. Goals include providing a regular connection, reassurance or medication reminders.
• Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions, Watertown, for Healthy Recovery Connection, a wellness plan to address dual diagnoses of substance abuse and mental illness through physical activity, education, counseling and links with primary care providers for overall health and wellness.
• Sciencenter, Ithaca, to fund a new exhibit on skeleton mechanics and safety. The exhibit incorporates health and wellness messages that will empower visitors to understand how the things they choose to do today will impact their skeletal health in the future. The exhibit will include an adjacent bicycle with a mirrored skeletal view of how a skeleton functions and encourage use of protective bicycle and skateboarding gear.
• Transitional Living Services of Northern New York, Watertown, which will train two instructors in mental health first aid, a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Mental health first aid training will be offered across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Vercillo. “These awards complement our existing grants and sponsorships with agencies that work to enhance quality of life, including health status, in Central New York.”

In the 75 years that Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has been serving residents of upstate New York, the company has supported hundreds of programs that are aimed at improving the health status of area residents.