Grant Application

Maurice Shawn Kirkland, UPMC McKeesport

Proposed Innovation

Churches and other faith-based organizations have a demonstrated ability to pull people together and to motivate and inspire them. In 2018, UPMC McKeesport created a “Call to Action” Community Health Team, partnering with area churches to develop health promotion and wellness strategies aimed at reducing health disparities in the McKeesport community.

This project builds on the success of the initial partnership by teaming up with local clergy to harness the power of the pulpit to increase the use of behavioral health services.

Improvements in Action

The goal of this initiative is to use educational events and social media marketing along with peer support and referral teams to dispel widely held beliefs in some faith-based communities that “prayer is enough.” Communication and educational toolkits will be developed for the local congregations and crisis management training will be provided to community volunteers. A second annual Community Health Awareness Day also will be held.

Intended Outcomes

Teaming up with local churches to improve awareness of behavioral health needs and available community services is expected to encourage use of behavioral and addiction treatment and support resources. It also will continue the progress of the “Call to Action” teams in providing education and health services to underserved area residents and reducing health disparities in the McKeesport area.