Highmark grant supports coalition against domestic violence program

October 11, 2020

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware recently awarded a grant for $159,950 to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence from BluePrints for the Community, a donor-advised fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.

The fund has contributed more than $16 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce healthcare disparities in minority population and address social determinants of health.

“The DCADV Community Health Worker program has proven to be an effective and meaningful service for a vulnerable population of our community. We anticipate continued positive outcomes as a result of their great work,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

The Domestic Violence CHW project is collaborative, integrating domestic violence services with health services. The coalition works in partnership with Child Inc., ChristianaCare and Westside Family Health Care to build capacity to assess for domestic violence and to provide a warm-referral to a community-based service. Highmark Delaware BluePrints for the Community is an important part of this project. This project also addresses gaps in service delivery, and improves access and engagement of health and safety services, especially within minority and uninsured/underinsured communities.

The community health worker is a resource for the healthcare clinic and the community service program, creating easily accessible advocacy. The project staff can provide information on available resources, help with safety planning, and assist with emergency needs. Two of the three DV-CHWs are bilingual in Spanish and English, ensuring the service is accessible and helping break down barriers for Hispanic victims and patients.

Domestic violence can have chronic and long-term health impacts on individuals, children and communities including depression, heart disease, substance abuse, unintended pregnancies, teen pregnancies, asthma and obesity. Studies have also found that women who experience domestic violence are at increased risk for headaches, chronic pain, and acute and chronic injuries.

Victims of domestic violence who may be too frightened to involve the police or the courts because of retribution by their abuser may seek assistance and counseling through their doctors. The healthcare provider’s role as first responder highlights the pressing need for well-trained medical staff able to identify domestic violence and respond with safety resources and supports.

The healthcare provider can refer to a domestic violence community health worker who meets face-to-face with the victim to address safety and health concerns. These meetings can occur onsite at the healthcare provider’s location or at a safe place in the community.

“The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence is so grateful to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware for their generous grant award through their BluePrints for the Community program. We are thrilled to receive this award and to engage in this collaborative community project to provide safety and healthcare access to victims of domestic violence,” said Sue Ryan, DCADV executive director.

For the domestic violence hotline in Kent and Sussex counties, call 302-422-8058 or Abriendo Puertas at 302-745-9874.

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