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Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association share this year's strategic plan, will focus on infant health and behavioral health

Kelsie Wonderly/Kelsie Wonderly
Sarah Hackenbracht is the president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association has announced this year’s strategic plan. GDAHA is a 29 member organization for hospitals and health systems in the Dayton area.GDAHA’s president Sarah Hackenbracht spoke to WYSO’s Ngozi Cole, about lessons learned last year and plans for 2023.

(Editor's Note: Transcript edited lightly for length and clarity)

Sarah Hackenbracht: Last year, we had a very strong continuation of our work and focus to support our hospitals throughout COVID. One thing that has set our region apart is our ability to have a shared table with our partners. That allowed us to continue coordination with EMS service providers and the greater Miami Valley EMS Council.

Ngozi Cole: What were some of the key health issues from last year?

Sarah Hackenbracht: The first was behavioral health and the second was workforce. COVID had a significant impact on the behavioral health of our community. Even returning to some level of normal operations has not resolved our community's behavioral health challenges. In fact, we are continuing to see growth in demand for services and need as well as the volatility and the challenges that people are presenting with from a behavioral health perspective. So from a hospital perspective, that is certainly one of the core areas that we recognize that we need to not only understand better but look at more holistically ways to serve our community.

Ngozi Cole: Another focus in your strategy this year is infant health. Why is this important?

Sarah Hackenbracht: Over the next two years, GDAHA is looking at how we can weave in some of our infant and maternal health initiatives and the evaluation metrics of those. That is one of the areas in which we see the emergence of inequity. We want to ensure that the babies born into this community have equal opportunity across the region. So we recently received certification for our pathways community hub. This pairs community health workers with moms and helps them navigate various pathways that each mom is challenged with.

We know that one of the most significant challenges that pregnant women and new moms face is stable housing. So we are also working with the Council on Housing and Homelessness and CareSource on a pilot program to address that.

Stable housing will allow mothers to focus on taking care of their individual health, protecting their own child's health and ensuring that the child is meeting developmental milestones and attending medical appointments. If we address some of the other social needs that typically are associated with maternal infant health challenges such as food insecurity and economic opportunity, moms can focus more on taking care of the baby's health.

Ngozi Cole: What other partnerships are in the pipeline this year?

Sarah Hackenbracht: We are reengaging our Southwest Ohio trauma system and the trauma coordination that we assist our hospitals with. We’re also following Governor DeWine's Blue Book budget. That’s an opportunity for us to work with our area legislators to address challenges that we're continuing to experience particularly in our workforce community.

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.