Grossmont Healthcare District supporting Champions for Health

Champions for Health

GHD Board of Directors present check to Barbara Mandel, CEO, Champions for Health and team

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD has awarded a $20,000 grant to Champions for Health, a local nonprofit formerly known as the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation.

The grant will support Project Access San Diego (PASD), the flagship program of Champions for Health. PASD helps low-income, uninsured patients receive specialized medical care through a network of volunteer physicians, hospitals, surgery centers and other ancillary health services. Since PASD began in 2008, donated care provided by PASD volunteers and healthcare providers has exceeded $13 million in value, according to Barbara Mandel, CEO of Champions for Health.

“We are grateful for the support of the Grossmont Healthcare District, and value tremendously our partnership for the benefit of the community,” said Mandel. “We believe Project Access is one of the most successful models in the country for providing access to specialty care to restore health to low-income, uninsured individuals in need of specialty medical care.”

Michael Emerson, GHD board president, said, “We are proud to support Champions for Health and the Project Access program. By addressing the healthcare needs of our community’s most vulnerable, Champions for Health serves people facing life-threatening or chronic medical conditions. The care provided to the uninsured also reduces the strain on hospital emergency departments and other community healthcare centers.”

Mandel said a recent patient underwent a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, but did not qualify for reconstructive surgery since her insurance benefits had expired. In service to the patient, a PASD volunteer physician performed the reconstructive surgery pro bono, which restored the patient’s well-being and self esteem.

Founded in 2005, Champions for Health offers several health improvement and prevention initiatives that improve community health and wellness, access to care for all and support for physicians through engaged volunteerism. In addition to PASD, other Champions for Health programs include free screenings for breast cancer, colorectal cancer and high blood pressure, along with flu immunizations, a speakers bureau and scholarships for medical students and residents planning to care for the medically underserved. For more information, visit www.ChampionsForHealth.org.