Loma Linda University School of Public Health (LLUSPH) received a $1.158 million award from the County of San Bernardino, California to implement an 18-month initiative to improve health equity by increasing access to health care.
[Photo: Dr. Edward McField, project associate director and co-investigator, and Dr. Sherma Charlemagne-Badal, project director and principal investigator, are the recipients of a $1.15 million grant from the county of San Bernardino to improve access to healthcare in the community. Photo by Ms. Katie Freeland]
The project, entitled San Bernardino County MediCal Outreach, Retention, and Enrollment (SBC-MORE) program, was developed and submitted by Dr. Sherma Charlemagne-Badal, assistant professor at LLUSPH, will serve as principal investigator/project director, and Dr. Edward McField, associate professor at LLUSPH will serve as co-investigator/project associate director.
On January 6, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the award which aims to improve health equity in the region by increasing access to health care among underserved and “low enrollment” populations. The target population includes persons with mental health disorder needs, persons with substance use disorder needs, individuals who are homeless, young men of color, families with mixed immigration status, persons with limited English proficiency, and individuals who are in county jail, in state prison, on state parole, on county probation, or under post-release community supervision.
“We can all agree that San Bernardino County can be ‘MORE’, and with this in mind, we have selected a name and a corresponding acronym which aptly conveys our expectations for our county,” said Dr. Charlemagne-Badal, who also serves as Special Advisor for Health Equity in LLUSPH. Students and faculty will actively engage the community based on principles of community-based participatory research while partnering with local community organizations such as 2-1-1 United Way, the African American Health Coalition (AAHC), Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), and El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center. Dr. McField shared that, “while the focus is on outreach and enrollment efforts, the project will explore individual-level factors as well as systems or policy-level factors that influence behaviors associated with health choices, including factors influencing decision to enroll into health plans an increasingly critical issue particularly in the context of the Affordable Care Act.”
Another unique feature is the collaboration with a historical coalition of county departments and agencies, including the Department of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Health, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Probation Department, Sheriff’s Department, and Transitional Assistance Department. SBC-MORE was developed in the context of the reorganization of the School of Public Health into multi-disciplinary academic centers focused on regional health equity. Drs. Charlemagne-Badal and McField are affiliated with the Center for Leadership in Health Systems but SBC-MORE was designed to involve at least two SPH centers, as Dr. Samuel Soret, executive director of the center for community resilience, will have a role for program evaluation. “We are very proud of the outstanding team and the equally outstanding proposal” said Dr. Anthony J. Zuccarelli, associate vice president for research affairs. SBC-MORE embodies the commitment of Loma Linda University to build sustainable community partnerships and actively promote health and wellness.