In the Community

Community Initiatives

FIMR driving positive changes, habits passed on to next generation

When results from Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s last two Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) were tabulated in 2012 and 2015, many were concerned about the infant mortality rate in IU Health’s East Central Region and statewide.

Started in 2014, the Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) committee is the first objective of a partnership between IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Open Door Health Services, the Delaware County Health Department and other community-based organizations. FIMR analyzes the root causes of infant mortality, defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday, and is dedicated to improving service systems and developing resources for women, infants and families.

Another FIMR objective is the implementation of a community action team of health professionals, charged with the promotion of safe sleep practices, early and adequate prenatal care, the promotion of breastfeeding and education to decrease or eliminate prenatal smoking and substance abuse.

“If you can modify a behavior, then you can initiate positive change,” said Genice Smithson, RN, BSN and FIMR coordinator at IU Health Ball Memorial. “While our survey indicated better than expected awareness in some areas of safe sleep, there were other areas where knowledge wasn't as common, such as pacifier use when placing infants to sleep or babies not sleeping in car seats as referenced by the American Academy of Pediatrics."

A positive outcome is that many families who have received safe sleep instruction and resources from IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s Mother/Baby Unit. Unsafe sleep practices, such as putting a baby to sleep on its belly or in a car seat, are frequent causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Thanks to the support of the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation, families of newborns lacking a crib or bassinet to practice safe sleep behaviors have received a Graco Pack n’ Play® portable crib and a HALO SleepSack® wearable blanket and instructions for their use upon discharge.

“On a scale of 1-10, I was probably a 3,” admits Tomisha Wilson, mother of one-month old Dru, says of her familiarity with Safe Sleep practices before coming to IU Health Ball. “Education stressed fundamentals like not using bumpers or making sure she is on her back, but also things like proportioning her alignment properly and never using blankets loosely or with fringe. I really like the SleepSacks for that because they meet her needs for both safety and warmth.”

“I don’t think the hospital would have been able to provide these for families without the support of the Foundation,” said Sindee Fry, RN, nurse practitioner intensivist, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. “What's also great is the safe sleep initiative at IU Health Ball spurred two other local organizations in Delaware County to seek state funding to provide additional families with the same resources."

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s success with Safe Sleep practices and achieving Gold Standard Certified Safe Sleep Champion status with the support of the Foundation led to another positive change: modeling practices for other facilities across the state, including those at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

To attain Gold status, IU Health Ball Memorial needed to achieve several criteria, including developing a facility-wide safe sleep policy and training staff, educate parents in safe practices, replace regular receiving blankets with wearable versions to eliminate loose bedding in cribs, becoming a local Cribs for Kids® Partner through Foundation support and providing education to the public through community outreach.

"It has been an honor to collaborate safe sleep best practice within the IU Health System,” Smithson said.

Health speakers bureau taking clinical topics to school and lunch

Nothing cuts through the confusing clutter and white noise of clinical topics like a charismatic, engaging speaker bringing timely information about vital health topics to a diverse community audience.

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation assumed coordination of the health speakers bureau from its Public Relations and Marketing department five years ago. While the number of speaking engagements has remained steady over the years, 2017 is off to a flying start, not just in the number of speakers, but with some high-profile audiences.

One such talk is Doctor, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Bird’s presentation to the Association of Lifelong Learners at Ball State University’s Alumni Center.  The Learners are a group of BSU retirees and community members interested in continuing to learn and engage with each other on a variety of educational topics.  Dr. Bird presented a lecture on February 21 regarding the role of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in the community, recent quality accomplishments and refurbishments, and offered his perspective on the “future of healthcare.”

“Dr. Bird is a great representative of the hospital, and he and the IU Health Ball name really bring people out to hear,” said Jean Gaziola, a member of Lifelong Learners and 30-year laboratory employee of Ball Memorial Hospital. “A mostly senior audience is very concerned about healthcare issues, and he is very good at cutting through the clinical talk and presenting an accessible perspective on healthcare.”

Other presentations in 2017 have included traditional speeches to breakfast and lunchtime Rotary groups about cancer and genomics, medical research studies, and a series of monthly presentations about cardiovascular health and diabetes to residents and community members at Westminster Village, a Delaware County retirement community. In the near future, Dr. Jan Kornilow of the Emergency Department will take part in a panel discussion about addiction. Substance abuse is one of the five priority needs in the East Central Region, and one goal of the health speakers bureau is to address timely topics, as well as general interest health awareness.

Another unique opportunity came in February and March with a request from an area high school. The sponsor of an afterschool LGBTQ student support club reached out about any medical professionals willing to talk to the students about their feelings and answer questions in an open environment, as well as provide information on reproductive health and safer sex.

Three residents, Drs. Sara Sorrell, Juan Carlos Venis and Erin Cole all addressed the students in a classroom setting. Discussions were free-form and open, and designed to foster a possibly more supporting environment than students received at home. Their teacher reported students were not only pleased with the manner in which topics were addressed, but also empowered to encourage friends in need of support and reliable information.

IU Health Ball works alongside community partners to spread health education to workplace

Workplaces, along with schools, churches or other gathering places, can easily be considered “spheres of influence,” or places to encourage and ferment positive change.

Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital has been rolling out a new pilot program designed to encourage area organizations to take a practical approach to healthy lifestyles, alongside community partners like the Healthy Community Alliance, Muncie Family YMCA and Ball State University. Goals include informing audiences about better nutrition, risks of smoking and the need for more physical activity.

As part of this initiative, a team of community outreach experts, physicians and medical educators performed health screenings and general wellness assessments for employees of Arrowhead Plastics and Engineering, a small manufacturer located on Hoyt Avenue in Muncie, on Friday, April 28.

About 30 employees participated in the screenings, which included physical assessments of weight, height, blood pressure, pulse rate and heart and lung sounds. Participants also received a Point of Care A1C blood glucose test. Following that, employees sat down with physicians for a one-on-one interview touching on their basic health histories, tobacco use and a calculation of their BMI. Specific health concerns were addressed during this individualized time, goals were identified, and free smoking- cessation resources were provided to employees in need.

“I’ve received nothing but positive feedback on this experience from our team and even have some folks commenting that it’s time for them to make some lifestyle changes,” said Tony Randolph, CCT at Arrowhead. “We really appreciated the professionalism displayed and are looking forward to seeing the results of the positive changes addressed.”

Project leaders included Sara Sorrell, MD, a third-year resident at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency, and John Disher, community outreach project manager, IU Health East Central Region. Dr. Sorrell and Disher were assisted by Drs. Carrie Anderson, Betsy Krause, and Anne Shenk, first year Family Medicine Residents; and medical assistants Whitney Holman and Kristi Sours.

Future goals of the project include work with the YMCA and other community wellness professionals to develop a wellness committee at Arrowhead to design employee wellness initiatives based on findings from the health screenings.

Healthy Community Alliance delivering ‘tools’ against tobacco

The Healthy Community Alliance of Delaware and Blackford Counties is arming East Central Region residents with free tools and information necessary to combat the area’s high use of tobacco products.

The Healthy Community Alliance of Delaware and Blackford Counties (HCA) was launched in 2015 by Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital. Its mission is to reduce the impact of chronic disease by focusing on tobacco use, increased exercise and healthy weight. The HCA is a collective-impact model, whose partner organizations influence audiences to make healthier lifestyle choices.

 “HCA partners are in a position to encourage healthier behaviors among residents, their families and their employers,” said John Disher, community outreach project manager, IU Health East Central Region. “Tobacco usage rates in Delaware and Blackford Counties are among the highest in Indiana, which in turn is among the nation’s highest incidences of adult tobacco use.”

One active “tool” in lowering area tobacco usage and dependency is the Quit Toolkit. It contains additional information on Indiana QuitNow Services, resources and benefits of encouraging friends and family to successfully break the addictive cycle of tobacco use, and contact information for Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline. HCA partners are encouraged to share the toolkit’s resources with their respective audiences, and are optimistic about its success.

“This is a great conversation starter. Our expectation would be all of clients can use these resources and support to successfully quit, for themselves or any other persons in their home who smoke,” said Gail Lewis, human resources and marketing coordinator of Hearts With Integrity, a home health agency in Hartford City, Ind., and HCA partner. “It’s nice to be able to give them a tangible product that will help them achieve success. We are really glad to have this to share with our clients.”

On the information front, the HCA has partnered with the Tobacco Free Delaware County Coalition to spread the word with articles and editorials in traditional and social media highlighting the importance of quitting. Pieces have detailed the negative community image portrayed by excessive tobacco use, as well as the value to friends and family of one’s stopping smoking, and keeping the benefits of being tobacco-free in front of the public.

“Out of sight is out of mind,” said Jacey Foley, director of tobacco control and resources, Meridian Health Services, coordinator for the Tobacco Free Delaware County Coalition and member of the HCA steering committee.  When asked why it is important to raise awareness about the resources, Jacey responded by saying, “The fact that these proven resources are free to Hoosiers, cannot be over-emphasized.  Not only are they free, but they can be used without leaving home.” 

Free Cervical Screening Program Continues to Change Lives

Since 2011, the Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center has provided nearly 400 cervical cancer screenings and over 350 comprehensive breast exams free of charge as part of a collaboration with the Reaching Out program and the Little Red Door Cancer Services of Central Indiana. In all, approximately more than 800 free screenings have been performed since the Cancer Center began offering them.

The IU Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center offers the screenings, which include tests for cervical cancer and HPV, and a clinical breast exam, free of charge. In 2015, screeners performed 126 cervical screenings and 125 clinical breast examinations. The free exams are provided at area IU Health family practitioners and gynecologists’ offices, the IU Health Breast Center and IU Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center at Forest Ridge.

When some screening results detect necessary follow up, and staff members from the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) are on hand to counsel women about financial assistance and other questions.  

“While it is a busy evening each year, it is fun and heartwarming to hear and see the gratitude from women receiving services,” said Becky Butts, coordinator of community education and prevention, IU Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center. “Without this valuable program made possible by the support of Administration, the Foundation, and the assistance of our residents, many women would not receive the screenings they need.”

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital 2015 Community Investment

View IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital's 2015 Community Benefit Summary

To learn more about the IU Health commitment to serving Indiana communities, review the statewide 2015 Community Benefit Report.

2015 Community Health Needs Assessment IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

2015 Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Strategy IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

2012 Community Health Needs Assessment - IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

What is Community Benefit?

Community Benefits are programs or activities that provide treatment or promote health and healing in response to identified community needs and that also:

  • Improve access to healthcare services
  • Enhance the health of the community
  • Advance medical or healthcare knowledge
  • Relieve or reduce the burden of government or other community efforts

An Overview of Community Impact

Every day, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital impacts the East Central Indiana community by carrying out its mission through patient care, health education and medical research.

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital also makes significant investments in the local communities it serves through community benefit, unreimbursed costs from Medicare, carrying out community-building activities and realizing the costs associated with bad debt, which consists of services for which IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital anticipated but did not receive payment.

2015 Community Benefit

  • Charity Care and Unreimbursed Costs of Medicaid, HIP & CHIP: $210,847
  • Community Health Improvement Services: $787,041
  • Health Professions Education: $9,407,647
  • Research: $692,090
  • Financial and In-Kind Donations: $238,764

2015 Other Investments

  • Unreimbursed Costs of Medicare: $9,151,342
  • Bad Debt: $2,648,107
  • Community-Building Activities: $779,101

2015 Total Community Investment: $20,313,118

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Number of Patients:

  • Inpatient: 17,751
  • Outpatient: 289,436

Number of Employees:

  • 2,931

Number of beds:

  • 355

Community Outreach Contact Information

Tricia Stanley, President

John Disher, Manager, Community Benefit and Outreach

Matt Cox, Community Outreach Associate

Lou Ellen Botkin, Executive Assistant

The IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation
Address: 2401 University Avenue, Muncie, IN 47303
Phone: 765.747.3420
Fax: 765.751.2757