Mercy St. Anne challenges community to better healthWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mercy St. Anne Hospital is inviting nonprofit organizations and the community to take an active part in preventing heart disease — and maybe win some money while they’re at it.
Officials announced Jan. 26 the “Heart of West Toledo Challenge,” an interactive series of events designed to raise awareness of heart disease and help organizations win up to $5,000 in grant money.
“We are here to announce a challenge to the community to change lifestyles that lead to a healthier heart and a healthier you,” said Dr. Imran Andrabi, chief operating officer, president and chief network integration officer for Mercy. “As a leader in cardiac care throughout Northwest Ohio, Mercy has a commitment to our community to ensure that you’re not only receiving high-quality, compassionate health care, but also have the tools needed to improve your health while you live your everyday life.”
Mercy officials came up with the idea of the challenge, a three-day series of themed community health fairs provided to the public at no charge.
The events from 1-3 p.m. March 15 (Nutrition), April 12 (Lifestyle) and June 27 (Fitness) will feature a variety of health activities, informational sessions and cooking demonstrations at Mercy St. Anne Hospital, 3404 W. Sylvania Ave.
The “challenge” component of the series stems from nonprofit and community organizations competing to gather votes at each session, with the top three vote recipients earning cash grants (first place $5,000; second place $3,000; third place $2,000) to support a health-related program within their organization. Participating organizations will earn points for attending the events, and attendees at each of the three sessions will cast a paper ballot to indicate their support of one of the 25 eligible organizations.
Mercy St. Anne is using the challenge in part to help raise awareness about its cardiac and vascular care. Last fall, it debuted its full-service cardiovascular program, with services including heart catheterization, coronary angioplasty and stenting, as well as open-heart surgery.
Brad Bertke, president and CEO of Mercy St. Anne, said the larger point is to improve public awareness of heart disease prevention.
“We know that sometimes it takes a life-threatening or life-altering event for people to truly engage in their own health care, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” he said. “We can do that now, and that’s what this event is all about. Through the ‘Heart of West Toledo,’ the goal is to give people an avenue to understand and engage in their health care today.”
Dr. Ahed Nahhas, cardiologist and medical director for the cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital, said these community-engagement events are all about preventing future problems.
“When we do procedures on those patients, we see them near the end of the disease process,” he said. “It’s important to try to focus on prevention as much as we can.”
Springfield Local Schools has already signed up for the challenge.
Kristina White, community liaison for the school district, said it represents an important part of schools’ impact on students and the community.
“Springfield Local Schools, like any almost any other public school district in America, relies on partnerships with our community in order to really take what can be teachable moments that we see with our students and bring those teachable moments to reality,” she said.
“There are students, there are families, there are staff members that are going to take advantage of what Dr. Nahhas shares at these events. But even greater than that, it offers us the opportunity to encourage people to get off the sideline and take some responsibility, and have fun while they do it.”
The challenge is limited to 25 nonprofit and community organizations, which must register by Feb. 27 at
mercyweb.org/heart or by calling Kelly Schenavar at (419) 887-6823.