With the nation’s eighth-highest obesity rate, Oklahoma continues to face challenges in improving the health of our residents. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has joined forces with local organizations to take action to create a healthier community. Through our Wellness Initiative, we support community-based programs that make it easier for citizens to engage in a sustainable course of daily exercise, healthy eating and other wellness activities, minimizing the potential of future illness and disease. Since 2014, we have awarded $476,984 in grants to 14 organizations to support community wellness programs.
One Wellness Initiative grant recipient that is making a difference in the health of Oklahoma City residents is Metro Technology Centers. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has awarded $60,000 in grants to the organization to support a free community wellness program. The MetroFit program offers a variety of free fitness classes to the public at Metro Tech’s Springlake and South Bryant campuses. Since the program began, participants have reported an overall increase in regular physical activity, with 14 percent of attendees exercising more than four hours per week.
“The MetroFit program has more than doubled in capacity and enhanced the lives of our community through physical activity and nutritional education, which resulted in lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, weight loss, enhancing self-esteem and so much more,” said Valerie McMurry, Metro Technology Centers Wellness Coordinator. “Our MetroFit Wellness Community program expansion could not have been possible without the financial support of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.”
Organizations interested in collaborating to improve health outcomes for Oklahomans are welcome to join our Central Oklahoma Wellness Alliance by contacting Sally Ray, at 405/606-2930. Groups with community-based wellness programs interested in applying for a grant can learn more at occf.org/wellnessinitiative. Individuals looking to participate in community wellness activities can visit GetMovingOKC.org for an event calendar, as well as information about trails, parks, and other facilities where residents can get moving.
The Open Arms Clinic at the City Rescue Mission was recently featured on KFOR-TV.
For residents of City Rescue Mission, the struggles of homelessness can present serious barriers to maintaining their health. When faced with the challenges of finding affordable housing and a sustainable income, health care is often just one more obstacle to overcome. Thanks to a grant from our Access to Health Care iFund program, a new triage clinic is making health care more attainable for Oklahoma City’s homeless population.
The clinic is a collaboration between City Rescue Mission and Open Arms Clinic, a charitable health care provider that has been serving Oklahoma City since 1993. Located onsite at City Rescue Mission, the clinic provides free medical services to mission residents through a triage nurse who assesses the level of care needed and coordinates follow-up services.
“When you have a significant homeless population without access to basic health care, they are often left with no choice but to use expensive emergency services that can have a tremendous impact on the community,” said Rosemary Hayes, Open Arms development and volunteer coordinator.
The triage clinic is helping to eliminate the use of emergency medical services for non-emergency needs. Within the first four months, the clinic served 329 patients, with only 30 requiring emergency care. Before the clinic opened, City Rescue Mission says EMS was called on a daily basis. Now, the rate of EMS calls has dropped by 24 percent.
“Many patients don’t have access to over-the-counter medications,” said the clinic’s triage nurse. “With the opening of the clinic, they can now be treated for minor ailments such as a migraine or a rash without ever leaving the facility.”
An initiative of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees, the iFund program utilizes gifts from donors to support services for children and elderly, as well as provide access to health care. Since 2011, the iFund program has awarded more than $2.5 million to charitable organizations serving central Oklahoma. Charitable organizations providing health care services and programs for the elderly in central Oklahoma can apply for the next round of iFund grants by April 14. Donors interested in making a charitable gift to support iFund grants can visit ifundokc.org and click on Donate Now.