History of the Community Benefits Department
As a not-for-profit regional health care system, “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all of the people in the communities we serve,” Southern Illinois Healthcare extends its services beyond hospital walls and into the neighborhoods where people live and work.
Our goal is to reach out to communities to learn how we, as a health care organization, can help in completing the health care picture. In response to this challenge, the SIH Community Benefits Department was instituted. In 1994, a community benefits committee was formed and a percentage of operating funds were allocated specifically to bring health-related programs to the areas where they are most needed.
Today, the Community Benefits Department of Southern Illinois Healthcare collaborates with southern Illinois schools to provide school nurses for rural school districts, a comprehensive school health education program, and bullying prevention programs. Additionally, the department is striving to increase access to quality health care in the region through a number of initiatives including the direct financial support and provision of technical expertise to three regional free health clinics. Efforts to raise awareness and celebrate the racial, ethnic, and religious diversity of the region are ongoing. A Health Ministry initiative, aiding the region's congregations with the establishment of a health ministry through the training and support of a Parish Nurse, is an ongoing effort of the department. Finally, the department is active with the creation and facilitation of community based Health Advisory Committees. These "grass roots" collaborative groups seek to meet locally identified community health needs such as the provision of informational resources, programs addressing domestic violence and child abuse, and many others that have had a significant impact on the lives of those within the communities served by Southern Illinois Healthcare.