Healthy Communities

The goal of the Backus Healthy Community Strategy is to expand current programs and establish new models to improve the health of the people of eastern Connecticut.  Addressing this goal requires a greater focus on prevention and an understanding of a wider range of what determines health.  

Preventative Medicine Initiative

The Preventive Medicine Initiative (PMI) leads and coordinates the Backus Healthy Community Strategy.  Through a number of projects the PMI manages a range of prevention models for well, chronically ill, and high risk populations.  The PMI is committed to work with community partners to understand and address social and medical determinants of health.

Eastern Connecticut Health Collaborative

In order to create effective partnerships Backus became a founding and lead member of the Eastern Connecticut Health Collaborative (ECHC), through the PMI.  This allows Backus to work with the local health district, numerous social service agencies, major employers, emergency services, and the local school district to connect people and resources to create a healthy community.  The collaborative has met regularly now for over two years and has formed two work groups. The first group focuses on Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle, and has developed a comprehensive Nutritional Survey.   The data generated from all of these community surveys will help ECHC identify additional nutritional needs in the community that can begin to be addressed as a community collaborative.   The second workgroup focuses on the opioid epidemic and most recently the connection to Adverse Childhood Experiences which put  individuals at risk for a number of negative outcomes across the lifespan, including alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as depression and suicidal behaviors. 

Preventive Medicine Team

Another aspect of the work of the PMI is the Preventive Medicine Team (PMT).  Created in October of 2017, the PMT consists of an advanced practice nurse and a licensed social worker.  The team partners with the Hospitalists to employ complex care management strategies for our sickest patients. Our outcomes demonstrate a significant reduction in total hospital encounters, ED utilization and hospital days while patient reported quality of life improved. The PMT is a great example of the application of prevention strategy in a sick population.

A number of other programs managed through the PMI serve key populations.

Rx for Health

The Rx for Health Program was launched to increase the access of fresh fruits and vegetables to children who are at risk for obesity, many of whom are food insecure. The program empowers families to make important dietary and lifestyle changes. Without money as a barrier, families are able to try new foods and recipes provided by program dieticians. 

The data collected during these two pilot programs reinforced the belief that families and individuals are open and receptive to preventive medicine strategies such as healthy eating when obstacles, such as lack of financial means, are removed.

Safe Kids

Safe Kids Windham and New London County is led by Backus Hospital and part of a statewide network of organizations and individuals who work together to prevent unintentional injury in children.Based on the needs of the community, this initiative implements evidence-based programs such as car seat checkups, safety workshops, and sports clinics designed to help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries.

Mobile Health Resource Center

Backus has custom designed a 40 foot Mobile Health Resource Center (MHRC) Van, intended to be a “medical center on wheels.”  This MHRC travels to numerous locations in the community to deliver health care directly to the residents of the greater Norwich area.

The MHRC also travels to many local health fairs to provide health services such as bone density screenings for osteoporosis, blood pressure screenings, and health information on topics such as diabetes, healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition and safety.

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