News Release

Grant will support patient navigation model for uninsured New Haven residents

HARTFORD, Conn. (Dec. 18, 2017)  A grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation will help support Project Access of New Haven’s patient navigator program, a model that provides staff to help patients address barriers to taking care of their health and that could be adopted by other health care organizations.

Project Access of New Haven connects uninsured patients to free health care, but the nonprofit organization also helps with more than immediate medical needs. Each patient has a “patient navigator,” whose activities can range from arranging translation for patients at doctor visits and helping them understand follow-up care recommendations to ensuring that patients have stable housing and enough food to eat.

The patient navigator model has been successful in New Haven and has the potential to be used by other organizations to improve care for underserved populations. The $50,000 grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation will allow Project Access to conduct an evaluation of the patient navigator model, which will identify best practices in patient navigation and help to promote the use of these best practices in other health care organizations and communities.

“While there have been significant strides in expanding access to health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, there are still many people who lack insurance,” said Tiffany Donelson, vice president of program for the Connecticut Health Foundation. “The state is fortunate to have an organization like Project Access of New Haven to fill this void.”

The evaluation will examine key elements of Project Access of New Haven’s model, as well as the impact of its services on participants, the local health care system, and the community. The evaluation will also look at the cost-effectiveness of the model.

Having someone to help patients navigate the health care system and address things that prevent them from being as healthy as possible could benefit patients with coverage as well, and the findings from the evaluation could help other organizations considering similar models.

“Patient navigator and similar community health worker interventions have great potential to improve the accessibility and care of underserved populations, and rigorous evaluation can help to strengthen our work and help others adopt these models,” said Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, executive director of Project Access of New Haven. “This will allow us to better meet the needs of our most vulnerable Greater New Haven residents, which will reduce health disparities and increase health equity in our community.”

The grant is one of 14 awarded by the Connecticut Health Foundation this quarter, totaling $984,300.


Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, Farmington: $80,000 (18 months)
This grant will help support the implementation of the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan, developed in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting. The funding will help in two areas:

  • Aligning and financially integrating systems that serve children in Connecticut. Currently, there is no single statewide system for financing or delivering these services, leading to harmful inefficiencies.
  • Expanding and aligning behavioral health screening and early identification activities, so children with needs can be connected to services. Currently, many settings that serve children – such as schools and pediatric primary care offices – do not offer consistent screening for behavioral health conditions, leading many children to fall through the cracks.

Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, Cheshire: $125,000 (12 months)
Ensuring that patients’ health records can be shared among their health care providers can improve care quality and patient outcomes, but there are still many challenges to making those exchanges commonplace. The Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, which includes 16 health centers that serve 370,000 patients, plans to address these challenges by developing a comprehensive strategy for deploying and using health information exchange in health centers. This grant will be used to improve the quality of the data captured by each health center’s electronic medical records system, with the goal of producing consistent, uniform clinical data across the health centers that can be used to better monitor performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, North Haven: $108,267 (15 months)
School-based health centers provide primary care, behavioral health, and dental services in schools, ensuring that children and teens have access to needed health services. The Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, which includes 88 school-based health centers in 22 communities, is working to ensure the financial sustainability of these clinics by helping them prepare for new payment models. This grant will allow the association to continue its work helping school-based health centers collect, report, and track their performance on quality measures. It will expand this project to four additional organizations that operate 10 school-based health centers: Branford Public Schools, Stratford Health Department, Optimus Health Care in Bridgeport, and Child and Family Agency in Southeastern Connecticut.

Health Equity Solutions, Hartford: $300,000 (12 months)
Health Equity Solutions promotes policies, programs, and practices that result in equitable access to health care, increased health care quality, and improved health outcomes. Its work includes focusing on policies that will promote the collection and reporting of data on patients’ race, ethnicity, and language preference in health care; creating a sustainable system for funding the work of community health workers and ensuring they are integrated into the health care system; and evaluating how policy proposals would impact health equity.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England: $75,000 (12 months)
This grant will help Planned Parenthood of Southern New England add primary care services to the family planning and reproductive health care currently provided at its Stamford health center – changes intended to better address unmet needs among young adults. Many young women get care from gynecologists or other family planning providers, but do not have a primary care provider. In addition, young adults ages 18 to 35 are among those most likely to be uninsured and least likely to seek preventive care. By offering primary care at the same place patients already get other health services, Planned Parenthood expects to increase the likelihood that patients will receive preventive care and make it possible to identify conditions – such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and depression – at an early stage. Planned Parenthood recently introduced a similar model to its Hartford North health center, with funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation. At the Stamford health center, which serves approximately 4,200 patients per year, 72 percent of patients are under age 30, more than half are black or Latina, 34 percent are uninsured, and two-thirds live below or near the poverty level.

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Meriden: $50,000 (12 months)
This funding will support the Protect Our Care Connecticut campaign, which promotes policies to achieve universal access to quality, affordable, and equitable health care. The grant will be used toward building deeper relationships with communities of color and other groups that face barriers to coverage and care.

The Connecticut Health Foundation provides grants to nonprofit media organizations because news reporting on health care provides insights, informs debates, and ensures that critical topics reach broad audiences. The funding is awarded with an understanding that the journalism will be independent and the grant will play no role in editorial decisions about health coverage.

Connecticut Health I-Team: $35,000 (12 months)
The Connecticut Health I-Team is a nonpartisan news outlet focused on health and safety issues. This grant will support in-depth reporting projects on health equity, health care access, and health disparities, as well as public forums and an expansion of the news organization’s access to data sources.

Connecticut News Project: $75,000 (12 months)
The Connecticut News Project is the parent organization of The Connecticut Mirror, a nonpartisan news outlet that provides in-depth reporting on state government and the implementation of public policy. This grant will support The Mirror’s coverage of health care issues and reporting on the ways policy decisions and implementation affect people and organizations in the state.

President’s Discretionary Grants are awarded to organizations and institutions that respond to the foundation’s overall mission or priority areas.

Regional Data Cooperative/DataHaven, New Haven: $25,000
This grant will support the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey, which produces local-level information on well-being, economic security, health, and other topics that are not available from public data sources. The survey can help to identify community needs and opportunities, and allows for neighborhood-level analysis. In 2018, the survey will be conducted with approximately 16,000 Connecticut residents.

Community Partners in Action, Hartford: $10,000
This grant will support the Prison Arts Program, which uses the arts to engage with at-risk youth, inmates, and former inmates, as well as their families. The program’s projects include workshops on arts and health in prisons, connecting inmates and their families through artwork, and a mural project to create a more positive environment in the visiting room for women and their children at York Correctional Institution in Niantic. The program also provides workshops for at-risk youth in schools.

URU The Right to Be, West Haven: $25,000
This grant will support URU The Right to Be’s work to address the lack of minority representation among health care executives and other senior administrators. The organization will encourage high school and college students from underrepresented demographic groups to pursue careers in health care, using mentorship and other strategies to help them build leadership and advocacy skills.

Southwestern AHEC, Shelton: $8,033
This funding will support the community health worker advisory committee of the State Innovation Model, a federally funded effort to improve health care. Although participation of community health workers on the committee is critical to shaping the development of the workforce and its role in health reform, participation can be difficult because many employers of community health workers do not pay them for committee work or grant time off for it. This funding will support stipends to offset the costs to community health workers participating on the committee, as well as efforts to ensure that the committee work is effective.

University of Connecticut Foundation, Storrs: $18,000
This grant will support the Health Disparities Clinical Summer Research Fellowship Program, a seven-week summer program that introduces Connecticut college students to clinical research, with an emphasis on health disparities. The program’s goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students engaged in health disparities research by training them in techniques to identify and address health disparities.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16 or

About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Since it was established in 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grantmaking, public policy research, technical assistance, and convening stakeholders to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut. Over the past 18 years, the Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $60 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.