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Irving, Texas, March 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CHRISTUS Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit health system, and AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), a federal agency connecting organizations through service and volunteering are joining forces in an effort to combat major health disparities, economic and racial inequities, and a variety of social determinants impacting a number of communities CHRISTUS serves.
“CHRISTUS Health has long been a beacon of hope for others. Equity has been one of the key focuses of our organization since our founding and has been a vital part of our strategic plan for more than a decade,” said Gerry Heeley, EVP Chief Mission Integration Officer CHRISTUS Health. “Our partnership with AmeriCorps VISTA allows us to further advance our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and to continue our work as agents of healing and positive change.”
The three-year CHRISTUS AmeriCorps Vista Project begins with the mobilization of key people and community partners to develop coalitions committed to improving the community's health and connect our Associates to volunteer opportunities in the community. CHRISTUS also plans to develop key interventions to address community needs among historically marginalized populations and to also execute, monitor, and evaluate critical community outreach programs.
“Our objectives are important ones and include strengthening our existing partnerships and developing new partnerships,” explained Chara Stewart Abrams, Director Community Health Development CHRISTUS Health.“We'll plan and implement evidence-based community programs and we'll build capacity so that we can track any of the meaningful impacts we hope to achieve for the communities we serve.”
CHRISTUS Health will receive the support of six AmeriCorps VISTA team members—one VISTA leader and five VISTA members. Work is underway to recruit the VISTA leader who will be located at CHRISTUS Health's system office in Irving and work alongside the CHRISTUS Health Community Benefit Team. The VISTA leader will support their team of five VISTA members in five different areas of the United States where CHRISTUS Health is located (New Mexico, Northeast Texas, Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana, North/Central Louisiana and the South Texas Region.).
“As an anchor mission organization this is in full alignment with our Healthcare Anchor Network strategies that leverage our assets around local hiring and volunteering,” said Marcos Pesquera, VP Community Benefit and Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
“We're at the beginning of an exciting and engaging project, one that we hope will create sustainable and transformational impact,” explained Nadine Nadal, Program Director of Community Development.“Proactively and holistically caring for our communities is within our DNA. It is a pleasure to partner with like-minded organizations to further enhance our healing work.”
About CHRISTUS Health
At CHRISTUS Health, we deliver a complete healing experience that respects the individual. We serve our communities with dignity. And with a good deal of admiration. CHRISTUS Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit system made up of more than 600 centers, including community hospitals, urgent care centers, health insurance companies and physician clinics. We are a community of 45,000 Associates, with over 15,000 physicians providing individualized care—and all focused on our charitable mission. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and San Antonio and the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to every individual we serve.
About AmeriCorps VISTA AmeriCorps VISTA is a federal service program designed to provide resources to non-profit organizations and public agencies to alleviate poverty and poverty-related problems in the United States. The program was started in 1959 as Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network in 1993. The AmeriCorps VISTA program provides an opportunity for Americans 18-years-of-age and older from diverse backgrounds to work a year of full-time service on a project that empowers individuals and communities to overcome poverty. By participating in this program, VISTA members receive benefits, including living allowances ($15,002), health care, child care, and personal/medical/holiday leave, education awards to pay for college or trade school, or repayment for qualified student loans. While in service, VISTA members receive professional development, alumni network, and more.
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