Lehigh Valley Health Network Recognized For Community Outreach

WASHINGTON (Aug. 19, 2010) - The American Hospital Association (AHA)  awarded the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision award to Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), in Allentown, Pa. for their work to improve the community's health through actions that go beyond traditional hospital care. The award was presented today to LVHN's president and CEO, Elliot J. Sussman, M.D., by AHA's president and CEO, Rich Umbdenstock. 

LVHN is passionate about growing healthy, strong and safe communities. Through partnerships and sponsorships of organizations and schools in the community, they are able to promote their mission and better the community they serve.  Their programs aim to be fun, innovative ideas for educating community members of all ages about how to better care for themselves and their loved ones.  LVHN has also worked hard to provide health education resources for the community that extend the hospitals reach to promote healthy lifestyles and improve wellness. 

LVHN's efforts in the community have been numerous and include: 

Miles of Smiles -a mobile dental van that helps bring the dentist's office to the children of the community.  Dental cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease, yet they often go untreated leading to major health consequences.  With two exam rooms and an X-ray area services can include teeth cleaning, cavity treatments and education on proper brushing and flossing and healthy eating.

Camp Red Jacket - a free day camp that helps children ages 6-12 with Type I diabetes find the answers to their questions about managing this serious disease through a fun, game-based environment.  Activities can include: confidence-building games that teach coping skills; a professional staff of diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians; and junior teen counselors with Type 1 diabetes, who can relate to the children through personal experience.

Communities in Schools -a program for adolescents at risk for dropping out of school. About 200 Allentown-area high school students participate. In addition to classroom instruction, they get mentoring, tutoring and training in job readiness and life skills that provide a great start for a healthy and successful future.

Safety Town -a trauma prevention program for children.  Using a portable, interactive town, it is designed to teach children (kindergarten through second grade) how to be safe in their everyday lives. The town depicts how a child travels through a normal day, including home, school, park and neighborhood, while discussing dangers they may encounter along the way.  It can be used at school, community and church events. 

"When you serve your community, as Lehigh Valley Health Network does, everyone is made better and gains strength from the connection," said AHA president and CEO, Rich Umbdenstock.  "This award is given when a hospital achieves a special level of success - Lehigh Valley Health Network offers their community support, care and compassion for their health and personal needs.  I am pleased and honored to recognize Lehigh Valley Health Network for their achievements and know their community shares this excitement." 

Established in 1996 and first presented in 1998, The Living the Vision Award recognizes institutions or individuals living the AHA's vision of a society of healthy communities where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.  In 2002, it was renamed the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award, in memory of the first hospital trustee to serve as AHA chair.  An important element of the award is that a hospital must be recognized as a leader and nominated by others in the health care field.  This is the first year the award has been given since 2005. 

About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities.  The AHA is the national advocate for its members, 4,800 hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 33,000 individuals.  Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.  For more information visit the Web site at www.aha.org. 

Lehigh Valley Health Network

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities - two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem, Pa.; eight health centers caring for communities in four counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.   Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region's busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Primary Stroke Center.  Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by US News & World Report for 15 consecutive years as one of America's Best Hospitals; is a national Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing; and has been honored eight straight years among the top integrated health networks in the U.S.  Lehigh Valley Hospital has been selected as a National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program. Additional information is available at lvhn.org and by following us on facebook.com/LVHealthNetwork and twitter.com/LVHNnews. 

Contact:          Matt Fenwick, AHA, (312) 422-2820

            Brian Downs, LVHN, (610) 402-0819