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Wheeler Awarded Grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to Increase Access to Health Care for Underserved Patients in Greater Hartford

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded Wheeler a three-year grant in the amount of $225,219 for a new Collaboration for Community Health program to increase access to health care for underserved behavioral health patients at risk for additional chronic health conditions, including diabetes, in Greater Hartford.  With support from this grant, Wheeler will collaborate with the Hispanic Health Council to increase access to health care services for underserved community members, encourage positive outcomes for high-risk patients, and provide a person-centered approach to care for all patients.  A full-time community health worker will be hired by the Hispanic Health Council as part of this effort.

“Close collaboration between Wheeler and the Hispanic Health Council enhances a strong connection in the community,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. “Patients in this program will be more engaged in care, better able to manage their chronic care conditions, have improved health outcomes, and reduce usage of the emergency department for their health needs.”

“This collaboration enhances the Hispanic Health Council’s partnership with Wheeler and furthers the mission of both organizations,” said Jose Ortiz, president and chief executive officer, Hispanic Health Council. “This community health worker will facilitate self-management and communication between patients and Wheeler, and perhaps most importantly, help patients to address the social determinants that have such a major impact on
their health.”

The Collaborative for Community Health program includes:

·         Community engagement and outreach to expand access to Wheeler’s Hartford Family Health & Wellness Center services, including behavioral health, primary care, dental, support services as well as the community health worker program.

o   Implementation of DIALBEST (Diabetes Among Latinos Best Practices Trial) in which the new community health worker, in collaboration with Wheeler and HHS teams, will assess and engage individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension in various aspects of primary care, nutrition counseling and additional interventions to manage this condition, including facilitation of their ability to address the socials determinants that impact their health and use of health care.

·         Home visits by the Community Health Worker to provide health education, engagement, care coordination, peer support, advocacy, and monitoring for medication adherence, and assistance with addressing social determinants of health for behavioral health patients who have chronic health conditions.

·         Nutrition supports provided by a Wheeler nutritionist to enhance patients’ knowledge on how to access healthy foods in the community, how to prepare culturally familiar foods in healthier ways, and how to incorporate healthy activity into their daily routine.

·         Weekly Multidisciplinary Case Review Team Meetings, including Wheeler care providers (physicians, nurses, dentists and hygienists, clinicians, care coordinators, nurse care managers, and medical assistants) and the Hispanic Health Council community health worker.

About the Wheeler Family Health and Wellness Center, Hartford

The Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center at 43 Woodland Street opened on January 9, 2018, and offers primary care for all ages, comprehensive well-child care and pediatrics, women’s health care, complementary medicine, behavioral health services, dental care and coordination, treatment for addiction, including medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and opioid use, tobacco cessation, outpatient services and recovery supports. For information, visit

Funding for the Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Improvements to the Family Health & Wellness Center are supported in part by the State of Connecticut Nonprofit Grant Program, the Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Authority, the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, and the Ensworth Charitable Foundation. Additional support is provided by Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. Wheeler is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).

About Wheeler

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages recovery, health and growth at all stages of life.  Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes and hopeful tomorrows for more than 30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more:

About Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit or call 860-548-1888.

About the Hispanic Health Council

The Hispanic Health Council (HHC) is a statewide, community-based organization that seeks to improve the health and well-being of Latinos and other diverse communities. For 40 years, HHC has achieved this mission through community-based research, evidence-based direct services, policy advocacy and provider training. HHC specializes in development, delivery, evaluation and replication of community health worker services, and used results to inform state and national policy. Learn more at