A Memorial Healthcare System program that aids some of the most vulnerable individuals in South Florida, children aging out of the foster care system, has won the American Hospital Association’s 2017 NOVA Award. The honor, earned by five or fewer entities nationwide each year, recognizes “effective, collaborative programs focused on improving community health status.”

The Memorial program, Healthy Youth Transitions, was the only winner from Florida.

Utilizing funding from the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, the program helps kids and young adults transition from foster care to adulthood by providing support before and after a person turns 18. Life coaches help those who’ve grown up on their own learn to be productive adults, with guidance on daily living challenges such as housing, health, social relationships, education, money management, career planning and work.

“There are often nonprofits in the community that offer some of these services, but its very unusual for a healthcare provider to take on a comprehensive program like ours,” said Tim Curtin, administrative director for community services at Memorial Healthcare System. “We’ve been able to form community partnerships and bring everything under one umbrella for kids who have spent their childhoods in a constant state of flux.”

Vanessa-Ervin-Tim-Curtin-072917-455x360 Memorial Healthcare program helps kids and young adults transition from foster care to adulthood
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Vanessa Ervin with Tim Curtin, administrative director for community services at MHS.

175 children, some of them with babies of their own, have been coached on life skills since 2010. “All they want is a fair shot at having success in life. We’re their safety net at a time they have nowhere else to turn,” said Curtin.

The NOVA Award, announced by the AHA at its Leadership Summit in San Diego, honors “bright stars of the health care field.” Winners are recognized for improving community health by looking beyond patients’ physical ailments, rooting out the economic and social barriers to care, and collaborating with other community stakeholders. “The programs recognized by this year’s AHA NOVA Award inspire us all with their collaborative, caring approach to improving community health and wellness,” said AHA President & CEO Rick Pollack.

Since 1999, Memorial Healthcare System’s Community Youth Services (CYS), which oversees the Healthy Youth Transitions program, has partnered with nearly 30 community-based organizations. It uses a targeted approach to tailor programs and services to meet the needs of the individuals it serves, using evidence-based prevention, early intervention, and treatment to help children and families. CYS has provided crucial no-cost, grant-funded resources to 185,000 young people and their families as they cope with crime, domestic problems, pregnancy, mental health, and substance-abuse issues.

Memorial Healthcare System is one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country. Its facilities include Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar, Memorial Hospital Pembroke and Memorial Manor nursing home.

For more information, visit mhs.net.