POCATELLO – The Idaho Health Care for Children and Families (IHCF) program will continue to be a staple of Idaho State University’s commitment to providing quality community support for health-related needs with a new, almost $550,000 grant from Serve Idaho.
This marks the 12th year of the program, which exists in partnership with AmeriCorps.
Jana Bodily-Roan, project director of the IHCF program, says with this grant, AmeriCorps members are placed at host sites throughout the state, where they provide direct service to communities, focusing on increasing access to health care through health screenings and health education.
“The IHCF first began in 2009 with approximately 22 members,” Bodily-Roan said. “It has grown so that in 2020, we will be able to offer 94 positions.”
The IHCF program is part of the ISU Institute for Rural Health (IRH), a primarily grant-funded department established in 1989 that seeks to help improve the quality of life for people in Idaho, especially in rural areas. ISU staff, faculty and students work on IRH programs.
Kayla Fielder, IHCF AmeriCorps project coordinator, says you may have seen the IRH at work in the community at many events, such as the Idaho Food Bank’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, ISU’s MLK Day Service events, the Idaho State Journal’s Family Fun Day, and various other community events. It is at service events and health education activities like these where they use the grant money to provide health education sessions and offer health screenings.
The grant will also be used to fund living stipends for AmeriCorps members, member training, member rewards and recognition, and program staffing and operation.
“Recently, members have also helped with COVID-19 screenings,” Fielder said. “They’re teaching proper hand washing, meal preparation for senior citizens, and food distribution to those in need in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The AmeriCorps members also gain experience so they can work more effectively to improve the health of the community, piquing their interest to work with underserved communities. Many members in the past have reported their experiences help them pursue a position and additional education to serve those in need.
“Members also report that their experience helps them to realize the importance and value of a healthy lifestyle and participating in community service,” said Fielder.
Bodily-Roan says she is excited to receive this grant and continue the work the IRH and IHCF have been doing.
“I am looking forward to another great year helping our members serve Idaho’s children and families, while providing memorable experiences for all involved,” she said.
Bodily-Roan also says this is beneficial to students in dental hygiene, radiographic science, physical therapy, occupational therapy and audiology programs at ISU, as it helps them gain experience in their fields.
“It is empowering to know that the IRH at Idaho State University can make a difference in people’s lives through improving the health of the community,” Bodily-Roan said.
The IHCF is currently seeking host site applicants, as well as AmeriCorps members. To learn more, visit https://www.isu.edu/irh/americorps/ or contact IHCF@isu.edu.