Updated: February 6, 2013 1:56AM
WAUKEGAN — The Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County has awarded more than $1.2 million to 18 local non-profit organizations for projects aimed at improving access to healthcare for uninsured and medically underserved residents of northern Lake County.
The projects were submitted for consideration by the Foundation’s directors, who met in late November to review and approve the grants. The group is the second to be funded in 2012. In May, Foundation directors approved just over $1 million to 25 local projects.
Nearly half the funding will go toward providing primary care, including medical, dental and mental health services. Grantees include HealthReach, Midwest Latino Health Research Center, Mobile CARE Foundation, Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Lake County Crisis Center/A Safe Place), NICASA, Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center and Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County.
“These organizations and others like them provide diagnosis and treatment to county residents who would not otherwise have access to care,” said Angela Baran, Foundation program officer. “They’re meeting a critical need that has not just gone away with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.”
The latest grants also address the county’s shortage of health care practitioners. The townships of Waukegan, Benton, and Zion, in particular — home to more than a fifth of the county’s population, have been designated “health professional shortage areas” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To increase the number of professionals practicing in Lake County, the November awards include scholarship support for Loyola University’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program and Dominican University’s Master of Social Work Program. Students who receive the scholarships commit to working in northern Lake County for at least two years after earning their degree.
A third funding priority is community health education that specifically connects people to diagnostic screenings and other care services. Four organizations — Alliance for Human Services, ChildServ, Respiratory Health Association,and Rosalind Franklin University Health System — received support for programs ranging from emergency room intervention to the mobile care van known as Community Care Connection.
Established in 2006 following the sale of St. Therese Medical Center and Victory Memorial Hospital to Community Health Systems, the newest grants bring the Foundation’s total funding since 2007 to more than $8 million. A complete list of grantees can be found atwww.hfnlc.org.