Harrison County Health Department to Deploy a Community Health Worker

(Thursday, May 16, 2024) — Harrison County Health Commissioner, Megan Smolenak, MPH signed into contract with Access Tusc, a local 501c3 Non-Profit to deploy an evidence-based care coordination model through the Bridges to Wellness program. With this collaboration, Bridges to Wellness will partner with the Harrison County Health Department to deploy a Community Health Worker (CHW) to help link individuals to community resources.

The CHW will work with families and individuals to ensure they have access to all the services they need including securing health insurance, finding stable housing, linking to transportation resources, and applying for utility assistance; additionally educating the client on ways to improve their health and wellness. The Community Health Workers in the Bridges to Wellness Program are dedicated to providing services in one place and will come to that individual’s home, listen to their needs, and work with them to create a plan to accomplish their goals and meet their needs. “Harrison County has an array of resources for individuals to turn to when hardship hits. With the help of the newly hired CHW, Dawn West, individuals will have one person to turn to that will help them navigate the social and medical resources throughout their community.” -Paige Dugan, Bridges to Wellness HUB Director.

“Bridges to Wellness will stand in the ever-widening gap between low-income families and the access needed by its participants to physicians, transportation, dentists, hospitals, legal guidance, and so many more resources that had either been deemed unavailable in the area or not readily known; commissioning each participant by advocating with them, teaching and respecting all members of the community, and understanding that knowledge is power. So, by that statement, Bridges to Wellness can recognize that person’s efforts through guiding each family’s need to be proactive in their health and wellness and following that path with them until completion. By emboldening and empowering the members of underserved and often overlooked families in Harrison County, we are acknowledging the disparities that often go unaddressed while giving the members of that family the ability to be at the forefront in all aspects of their wellbeing. I am very proud to be a part of this program. I know that my way has been paved by so many hard-working, purpose driven, and compassionate people. I have tasked myself with providing the very best service to each participant with all the diligence required of me.” – Dawn West, Community Health Worker

According to the 2023 County Health Rankings, 11% of adults and 7% of children are uninsured. The county percentage of mammography screenings is 33%, which is lower than the 40% state and 37% national averages. With the Bridges to Wellness partnership, the Harrison County Health Department can work toward improving the population’s overall health and well-being.  “Dawn is already a great addition to our team; her desire to help others and connect them with valuable resources is inspiring. I look forward to seeing Dawn build relationships with community partners and start working toward making a positive difference in the lives of Harrison County residents for generations to come,” said Katie Norris, Deputy Health Commissioner.

About Bridges to Wellness

Bridges to Wellness is one of twelve HUBs in the state of Ohio, going on its fifth year of operations. The HUB is certified through the Pathways Community HUB Institute, a national certification body ensuring that this evidence-based model demonstrates proven health outcomes. This model is endorsed by: Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Ohio Department of Medicaid to name a few.

The program serves the counties of: Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Tuscarawas, Washington, and now Harrison County. Program funding is provided through the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, Appalachian Regional Commission, and Health Impact Ohio to help sustain the implementation of this evidence-based model in the communities.

For more information or to learn how to refer a client to Bridges to Wellness, contact us at: (234) 801-8010 or email: coordinator@accesstusc.org.