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Alliance Healthcare Foundation Announces Innovation Initiative Decision

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) August 17, 2013

The Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) developed the Innovation Initiative (I2) in 2010 to advance its mission to improve the health and wellness of the 600,000+ people estimated to live in poverty in San Diego and Imperial Counties by supporting transformational thinking, people and organizations. AHF recognizes that with limited resources to meet the needs of our community, break through innovation is needed to make life better for those we aim to serve. Through I2, AHF seeks to alter the status quo by funding innovation designed to enhance the lives of those people most in need in our community. Consequently, AHF has and is willing to support models of “disruptive innovation” that challenge the way we define and think about health care.

After a highly competitive process, five innovative proposals were selected and presented by local organizations earlier this month. The finalists were: Access Youth Academy, Community Clinics Health Network, St. Paul ‘s Episcopal Home, UC San Diego, and a collaboration of North County Lifeline, San Diego Youth Services, South Bay Community Services and SAY San Diego. AHF is announcing its decision to support Access Youth Academy in the expansion of its successful program to the Hoover High School campus in City Heights. The key goal of this program is to break the destructive cycle of educational failure, poverty and ill health, and establish the positive cycle of educational achievement leading to employment and good health for future generations. The four pillars of the AYA program--health and wellness, leadership, community service, and academic enrichment--will not only impact the lives of the AYA students, but also the community for years to come.

The Access Youth Academy (AYA) program applies a youth development strategy to improve key determinants of health for children who would not otherwise be expected to attend college or be successful in our competitive environment. The program starts upstream from traditional health care in order to change not only a child’s future but the future of his or her family and their social network as well. AYA supports healthy living and economic attainment through academics and the competitive athletics, specifically the game of squash.

During the past seven years, AYA has partnered with the Preuss School to test the program. Working intensively with 10 students per year from the seventh grade through graduation, approximately one-half from the Hoover High neighborhood, all 20 graduated students are going to four-year colleges on scholarships, including some of the most prestigious in the country. The third group of 10 students is expected to graduate with their class next year. This is critically important because according to the National Center for Education Statistics, college enrollment rates are 25% lower for low and moderate income high school graduates (55%) compared to the highest income backgrounds (80%). “Promoting greater college enrollment might not only address the current earnings gap but also offer the potential to improve economic mobility for future generations” says Bhashkar Magumder, economist, Chicago Census Research Data Center.

AHF will help AYA expand this program to City Heights. Over time, this model will be replicable to other communities and begin to transform the belief that access to health care is enough to maintain healthy lives when, in fact, social barriers play an equally important role in people’s lives.


Alliance Healthcare Foundation is committed to serving the most vulnerable populations in the San Diego area through funding projects and programs that address health improvement and access to healthcare, with a focus on increasing the capacity and coordination of the healthcare delivery system. Since 1989, AHF has invested more than $45 million in grants to the San Diego community. Committed to the principle that everyone should be able to access appropriate, quality, and timely care, AHF works closely with nonprofit, government, and community agencies to further this goal. They accomplish this work through advocacy, education, and collaborative grant making.

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