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Heartland Health In Missouri Receives Prestigious $100,000 Foster G. McGaw Prize For Excellence In Community Service

Finalists from Omaha, Indianapolis and Lancaster, Pa. also Recognized

Published 01-14-10

Submitted by Baxter International Inc.

In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, Heartland Health in St. Joseph, Mo., is the recipient of the prestigious 2009 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare.

Each year, this $100,000 prize is presented to a healthcare organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, the Cardinal Health Foundation, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust.

Named as finalists for this year's award and receiving $10,000 each are Alegent Health in Omaha, Neb., Lancaster General Health in Lancaster, Pa., and St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis, Ind.

"The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities. This year's winner and finalists embody the numerous ways healthcare organizations positively affect the communities they serve," said John O'Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. "Their unwavering dedication and innovative leadership are the catalysts for the impressive programs that have been developed to promote their communities' health."

This year's McGaw Prize winner, Heartland Health, is an integrated health delivery system that includes a medical center, physician practices, foundation and a health plan. Heartland Health was developed in 1984 from a merger of two prominent, long-standing
St. Joseph hospitals, and provides healthcare to a 21-county area of northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska. It is the largest employer in the region with more than 3,100 employees. With a strong commitment to meet the healthcare needs of the region, Heartland Health provides medical services at every level of care, including acute care services and specialty centers. The Heartland Foundation's vision is for healthier, more livable communities, and strives to empower the children and adults in the 30-county region it serves to continuously improve their health and quality of life.

"At Heartland we believe that our responsibility to our community goes beyond providing healthcare," says Dr. Mark Laney, president and CEO of Heartland Health. "We are proud of the partnerships we have formed to improve the health of the area we serve. Our programs through the Heartland Foundation positively impact the lives of young people to help them live healthier, more productive lives tomorrow. Our health improvement efforts for adults also reflect our vision and mission by providing the tools to create a healthier lifestyle."

Among other programs, Heartland Health was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:

  • emPower Plant - Designed by the Heartland Foundation, this hands-on experience of civic education engages students in community work involving more than 90 schools, 8,856 students and 453 teachers.

  • Public Achievement - Since 1999, this program has provided a forum for youth to practice citizenship, engage in public work and learn about the democratic process. This partnership between the National Center for Democracy and Heartland Foundation has immersed more than 2,000 students in civic responsibility initiatives.

  • JumpStarters - Building on the emPower Plant and Public Achievement programs, JumpStarters offers a unique opportunity for students to get involved in their communities by integrating service projects with classroom learning, allowing students to use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. Learn and Serve America provides support to JumpStarters to facilitate service-learning projects.

  • Project Fit - The Heartland Foundation's 10-year partnership with Project Fit America has involved more than 10,800 students from 43 schools. The program not only increases physical activity for children, but has proven that students involved are more focused in the classroom, miss fewer days of school and are higher achievers in their school work.

  • Pound Plunge - This 12-week community weight loss program provides constant support in helping adults achieve their weight loss goals. Through competition, fun events and physician involvement, participants have lost more than 42,000 lbs. in the program's four-year history.

"Heartland Health is committed to creating a better, healthier, more dynamic community for the long term. Focusing on root causes, Heartland partners with the community on programs to address a wide variety of human behaviors that influence health," said O'Brien. "The system's initiatives deal with issues ranging from youth obesity to high school graduation rates, economic development, early childhood education, women's health, and more. Through these efforts, Heartland Health demonstrates its role as a fully engaged community partner in addressing the health and social issues in the region it serves."

2009 Finalists
Three Foster G. McGaw Prize finalists were also recognized for their significant accomplishments in community service. Each received a $10,000 prize:

  • Alegent Health in Omaha, Neb., for strategic collaborations with community partners to improve healthcare, including establishment of a health center and school-based mental health model.

  • Lancaster General Health in Lancaster, Pa., for innovative leadership in community-based initiatives including expanding access to care, educational opportunities and economic development.

  • St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis, Ind., for establishing programs that address the health of its community including job readiness, life-skills development, neighborhood revitalization and access to healthcare.

Heartland Health is an integrated health delivery system, which includes a Heartland Regional Medical Center, Heartland Clinic, Heartland Foundation and a Community Health Improvement Solutions. Founded in St. Joseph in 1984, Heartland seeks to improve the health of area individuals and communities and to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place, at the right cost with outcomes second to none. Commitment to this mission has enabled Heartland Health to become the leader in healthcare in a 21-county area of northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska. Providing exceptional care and service in an honest, respectful, trustworthy and caring manner is simply the way Heartland operates. For more information, please visit">

The Foster G. McGaw Prize, first awarded in 1986, recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate commitment to community service through a range of programs that demonstrate a passion and continuous commitment to making communities healthier and more vital. The prize inspires hospitals, health systems and communities to assess and implement programs that improve their communities.

The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include almost 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks, other providers of care and 37,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for healthcare leaders and is a source of information on healthcare issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at

The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), helps organizations expand access to healthcare in the United States and around the world. The foundation, established in 1981, began to focus exclusively on increasing access to healthcare in 2002 - particularly for the disadvantaged and underserved - in communities where Baxter employees live and work. Baxter International Inc. develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide. For more information, please visit

The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national and international programs that improve healthcare efficiency, effectiveness and excellence and the overall wellness of the communities where Cardinal Health's (NYSE:CAH) 30,000 employees live and work. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage community service among its employees and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster. To learn more, visit

Founded in 1944, the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) is a private, not-for-profit organization involved in research, education, and demonstration programs addressing health management and policy issues. An affiliate of the American Hospital Association, HRET collaborates with healthcare, government, academic, business, and community organizations across the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that shape the future of healthcare. For more information about HRET, visit

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