District council doesn’t settle for software for a grant for well being educators | information

GOSHEN – Elkhart County Council on Saturday turned down an opportunity to apply for a federal grant to hire health department staff to educate local minorities about chronic illnesses.

The council unanimously rejected a motion by the Department of Health to seek the $ 995,698 grant from the Centers for Disease Control. The grant would have paid the salaries of up to six new employees who work with members of the Latino, Amish, and Black community to promote chronic disease education.

The health officer Dr. Bethany Wait told council that the request came after surveys were conducted at both Goshen and Elkhart hospitals to assess the community’s health needs. She said the main concerns of the Goshen survey were mental health with the need for a mobile response unit, comorbidities and the treatment of chronic diseases.

The results of the Amish survey found that cancer and heart disease were the top concerns in this population group.

Wait said the people hired as outreach workers would be members of the Black, Amish and Latino communities. These workers would be trained by the health department.

“The goal is to combat chronic disease in the community and we want to have them trained and operational by December this year,” said Wait.

Both individual encounters and group sessions would be used to ensure training.

In rejecting the application, council members expressed concern about a sentence in the application that said the health department would assist the CDC in tracking and quarantining COVID-19 victims.

Mayors Jeremy Stutsman, Goshen, and Rod Roberson, Elkhart, issued letters of support for the grant on Friday.

“The city of Goshen strongly supports this important publicity work. The deployment of community health workers in Elkhart County will combat misinformation, fear and stigma associated with chronic health problems by providing timely and accurate information on how families can access care and support, ”Stutsman wrote.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the disparities between our residents with positive and negative health outcomes,” wrote Roberson. “Factors like tobacco use, diabetes, diet, health literacy, and access to preventive care have a huge impact on how and whether someone recovers from a disease like COVID.”

Roberson added that the CDC grant would improve health literacy and education among the county’s Black, Latinx and Amish populations.

Alison Gingerich County resident told the council she was against applying for the grant.

“I have to believe this grant has a lot to do with COVID,” she said. “We are tired of being informed about COVID. We did two years of training on COVID. Two years of contract tracking with COVID. Every further education stands for threats, coercion, bullying and signaling of virtues. And we’re done with it. When we have $ 3 million, we’ll throw it elsewhere. We are tired of masking our children. We’re sick of being forced to get vaccines. And in all honesty, yesterday or the day before yesterday, President Biden declared civil war on the country. And that’s why we’re here. We are very concerned. We are concerned that our freedoms are being taken away and by continuing this crisis, which is not a crisis, you can look at the numbers, we are not tripping over bodies in the streets. So, we have had enough of the fear and are tired of it going on. “

Gilberto Perez Jr. of Goshen told the council that Elkhart County has been labeled a shortage of health workers and the grant would help.

“Approving this grant would allow the health department to have an additional group of people to help with the Dr. Wait to address concerns, “said Perez.

He added that he hoped the Council would approve the grant application.

Dr. Daniel Nafziger, Former Elkhart County’s Health Officer, said, “I work in our local health system and things have never been as bad as they have been for the past three weeks. Health systems in some parts of the country, Idaho, are collapsing. We’re almost breaking down here in Elkhart County. There are people who are in need of a life-saving operation that they cannot get because our hospitals are overwhelmed. “

He said using the grant to better educate people about health issues would help in the long term.

“If we could move upstream and make our community healthier, then everyone can get the health care they need. This is one small step you can take to make things better, ”said Nafziger.

Councilor Adam Bujalski stated that the grant language obliges the Ministry of Health to assist the federal government with quarantine and COVID isolation. He added that he doesn’t like federal mandates.

“That one sentence is my no,” he said. “I refuse to say that I have to do everything the federal government tells me to do. I’ll never say that. “

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