Wellmark awards grants to Sioux Falls, Vermillion

Wellmark awards grants to Sioux Falls, Vermillion The Wellmark Foundation has awarded the American Lung Association of South Dakota, The University of South Dakota, and Sioux Valley Health System Foundation mini-grants totaling nearly $15,000 to help fund community health projects.

American Lung Association of South Dakota in Sioux Falls was awarded $5,000 for its South Dakota Asthma Coalition Project. This project will bring together key individuals and organizations from across the state to form a strong coalition to plan a comprehensive program response to improving patient care, patient self-management, and asthma control.

The University of South Dakota in Vermillion received $4,945 for a project titled Improving Health Literacy � A Key to Reducing the Burden of Chronic Disease. This project will support the interdisciplinary planning and groundwork necessary to prepare for an October 2005 submission of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant proposal designed to improve health literacy and health outcomes related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

Sioux Valley Health System Foundation in Sioux Falls was awarded $4,670 for its project, Improving End-of-Life Care in the Nursing Home. This project addresses the priority of end-of-life care with an emphasis on pain control. This is a community-based project led by Sioux Valley Hospital, USD Medical Center, and Hospice collaborating with nursing homes located in Iowa and South Dakota. The project will provide an eight-hour "train-the-trainer" educational program on end-of-life care, including pain management, to designated nursing home trainers.

After success with its initial November 2003 mini-grant offering, The Wellmark Foundation allocated up to $50,000 for a 2004 competition. Ten mini-grants from a pool of 90 applications were awarded in South Dakota and Iowa by The Wellmark Foundation Nov. 15.

"The high number of grant applications we received demonstrates that there is a significant need for this type of mini-grant funding," said Dr. Sheila Riggs, executive director of The Wellmark Foundation. "These grants provide important start-up money for community organizations' worthy projects."

The Wellmark Foundation has provided nearly $6.94 million to fund 191 health-related grants in Iowa and South Dakota since 1997, including $1,234,897 this year and $48,963 during this mini-grant cycle. The foundation has also provided more than $1.95 million to United Way organizations in both states since 1997.

The Wellmark Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation created by Wellmark, Inc., doing business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. For a list of award recipients, as well as how to apply for a grant from The Wellmark Foundation, visit www.wellmark.com and click on "The Wellmark Foundation." Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and The Wellmark Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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