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CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs expands local prevention efforts

April 10, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

A new team at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs will soon bolster the hospital's community prevention efforts.

The hospital will add one full-time and one part-time substance use prevention specialist to work with Susie Reece, violence prevention specialist. The positions will be added in May, Mental Health Awareness Month.

"The focus of CHI St. Vincent prevention efforts will be in expanding opportunities to educate on comprehensive wellness, supporting existing infrastructures of care and helping to reinforce and enhance programs which will propel Garland County forward," Reece said.

Patrick McCruden, senior vice president for mission integration, previously sought to build the hospital's community services in the area of prevention, specifically violence prevention. The national Catholic Health Initiatives opened an opportunity for grant awards in that specific area.

McCruden spearheaded a search to find a community partner who was addressing violence and met with the Garland County Suicide Prevention Coalition. They applied together for a CHI grant.

Reece chaired the coalition until it rebranded earlier this year to the Suicide Prevention Allies. She is currently the group's executive director.

The hospital received a Violence Prevention Grant for $71,510 to address violence prevention through suicide prevention efforts. Reece was hired as a grant coordinator to monitor ongoing efforts, determine a range of areas to be effectively addressed, incorporate community building and administer grant funds accordingly.

"I have been blessed this past six months to work with VP McCruden," Reece said. "His heart is congruent with the mission of CHI St. Vincent and it is evident in all of the many projects he has helped to create."

McCruden and Reece searched for additional opportunities after examining areas of need and gaps in funding. Among the new grant applications was a Substance Abuse Prevention Block Grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the Arkansas Department of Behavioral Health Services.

The grant would provide about $120,000 per year for prevention efforts. It is pending legislative approval, but is expected to be awarded to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs on May 1 to allow for the two new staff positions. The grant focuses on youth empowerment and education about substance use and prevention.

"I hope we can be successful in our mission to help build a stronger Garland County," Reece said. "I know that we have the right support in VP McCruden, as he helped to forge the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center into what it is today."

McCruden is president of the center's board of directors. He spoke at the center Thursday during the Child Abuse Prevention Rally and Luncheon with Arkansas first lady Susan Hutchinson. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs will be the new regional prevention provider and prevention resource center for Garland, Hot Spring, Clark, Pike and Montgomery counties. The center will house a catalog of prevention resources on the main campus on the fifth floor of the Medical Office Building, 300 Werner St.

The materials focus on topics including substance use prevention and education, mental health education, behavioral health education, suicide prevention, bullying prevention, and comprehensive wellness. The materials are either freely available or can be loaned to community members at large.

Reece said the hospital plans to continue to develop its community prevention efforts. The hospital is also awaiting notice on two more grant applications recently submitted.

"We will continue to submit grants and will be identifying more sustainable sources of revenue to enhance the longevity of this department and other areas of need within the community," Reece said.

Local on 04/10/2017

Print Headline: CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs expands local prevention efforts

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