New Haven Group Awarded $50,000 Grant to Amplify Voices of Newly-Insured Residents in Health Reform

Monday, January 13, 2014

Group to Examine the Real and Personal Impact of Medicaid Expansion and Launch of Access Health CT 

HARTFORD, CT -- The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) Board of Directors awarded Christian Community Action (CCA) a one-year grant to engage newly-insured and uninsured consumers in creating a more responsive, consumer-focused health care system. CCA will collect the stories and experiences of those consumers who have not traditionally been involved in shaping health care decisions. CCA, in partnership with the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut and the Connecticut Alliance for Basic Human Needs, will work with the consumers to propose strategies to improve and ensure access, reduce disparities and inequities – ultimately to create an improved health care system.

For many residents, January 2014 will be the first time they are using the health care system in a meaningful way, and may not know how to navigate its complexities. By drawing on their experiences, CCA and its partners will be able to educate and mobilize these residents to advocate for themselves in the health care system.

“The story of how many people have enrolled through Access Health CT, the state’s insurance marketplace, has already been told. We want to go deeper and understand how consumers are experiencing the expansion of the health care system,” said Bonita Grubbs, executive director of CCA. 

She continued, “With this grant, we can ensure that system design and adjustments reflect the voices of the consumers who have first-hand knowledge of what needs to change.”

CCA’s vision is to move the health care system to one that is person-centered and person-informed. Such a system prioritizes the person receiving care, and the provider shows respect, offers explanations and materials about conditions and treatment that the person receiving care can easily understand. Most importantly, the provider will treat each person the same, regardless of that person’s income, race, or type of health insurance, be it public or private.

To achieve that vision, CCA and its partners’ work will result in policy advocacy and legislative education efforts, including a capstone forum where they will share with policymakers the stories, results from the outreach and engagement, as well as the recommendations for making adjustments to better meet consumer needs.


Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach (CFDO) (Southington) received a one-year $30,000 grant to implement a pilot project to educate, treat and find a dental home for pregnant women who are unable to access dental care. The pilot will take place during the CFDO’s annual Mission of Mercy event. 

Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc. (Hartford) received an 18-month $50,000 grant to continue supporting its Health Equity Reporting Initiative. Specifically, WNPR will report on 18 in-depth feature stories that examine racial and ethnic health disparities, and host one Where We Live community event. 

Connecticut Voices for Children (New Haven) received a nine-month $35,000 grant to examine the health equity issues in oral health access and utilization within the HUSKY population, with the goal of identifying factors that can decrease the gap that currently exists for children of color. 

Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Child Resource Center (Derby) received a one-year $200,000 grant to identify and treat children with mental health issues through the creation of a community-based network that includes the education and mental health systems, as well as the Derby Police Department. 

Middlesex Hospital (Middletown) received a one-year $220,166 grant to identify and treat children with mental health issues through the creation of a community-based network that includes the education system and the faith-based community.

Partnership for Strong Communities (PCS) (Hartford) received a one-year $50,000 grant to support the “Opening Doors – Connecticut Health and Housing Initiative” to reduce re-hospitalizations and readmissions for people who are homeless or unstably housed. PCS will partner with the Connecticut Hospital Association to develop a process for tracking housing status of patients within the hospital system and provide linkages to local community care team programs. 

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (New Haven) received a one-year $50,000 grant to increase health insurance enrollment of young people, particularly people of color. 

Society for New Communications Research (Statewide) received a one-year $140,000 grant to support the (HJCT) project, a social media platform that informs and connects Connecticut residents online and offline, and encourages dynamic public discourse and debate. Funding will support HJCT’s efforts to significantly contribute to a positive narrative about the Affordable Care Act and benefits to people of color.

Southwestern Area Health Education Center (CT AHEC) (Trumbull) received a $50,000 one-year grant to expand the role of community health workers (CHW) in the state. Southwestern AHEC will partner with other Connecticut AHEC offices to define and identify the workforce, develop a comprehensive curricula for CHWs, and provide oversight and recommendations to the legislature for CHWs.

Wheeler Clinic, Inc. (Plainville), a community-based organization that provides a comprehensive continuum of behavioral health recovery, received a one-year $100,000 grant to collect, analyze and share data that is stratified by race, ethnicity, and language to guide continuous improvement and inform statewide systems efforts to reduce disparities in care.


Community Partners in Action (Hartford) was awarded a $10,000 grant to support the Behavior Education Initiative and the CPA Prison Arts Program. 

Latino Community Services, Inc. (Hartford) was awarded a $25,000 grant to implement a new business model that involves expanding its scope from serving Latinos with HIV or at risk of HIV, to serving people of color more broadly. 

YMCA of Greater Hartford (Hartford) was awarded a $25,000 grant to support its REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) coalition that focuses on reducing obesity in North Hartford.


  • Connecticut Food Bank (New Haven) received $40,000 to support its emergency assistance food program that provides food products to more than 650 soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and child and adult day programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties.
  • Food Share (Bloomfield) received $40,000 to support community kitchens, emergency shelters, food pantries and other anti-hunger programs in Hartford/Tolland counties.
  • Operation Fuel (Bloomfield) received $40,000 to provide access to year-round energy assistance to families.

About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems.  Since it was established in July 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grant-making, public health policy research, technical assistance and convening to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut.   Over the past 14 years, CT Health has awarded grants totaling $52,000,000 in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.

In April 2013, CT Health announced its five-year strategic plan to transition to expand health equity as a focus.  For CT Health, health equity means helping more people gain access to better care, especially people of color.  Better care includes physical, mental, and oral health.



Maryland M. Grier
Senior Communications Officer
Connecticut Health Foundation
860-724-1580, ext. 21


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