The dictionary defines “partner” as one associated with another, especially in action. When it comes to your health, there can be many groups, organizations or people who factor in to your care. Some work behind the scenes training the very people who provide you care, while others could be responsible for taking you directly to our clinics for treatment. We want to spotlight some of Gifford’s Partners in Health that greatly assist in our job of providing quality care to our community.
Tri-Valley Transit (TVT) was formed from the merger of Stagecoach Transportation and Addison County Transit Resources in 2017 and has been providing community transportation services since 1976. The organization helps residents of Orange and Northern Windsor Counties get where they need to go through local and commuter bus services and a robust Dial-A-Ride program that uses volunteer drivers to provide door-to-door service for people in need. All bus routes are open to everyone and are currently operating fare-free. Dial-A-Ride includes programs that focus on our elderly population, persons with disabilities, and low-income families and individuals. Depending on eligibility, services are usually free of charge or subsidized. Gifford has been working with Tri-Valley Transit for years and relies on this company for helping our patients, who may have no means of transportation, get to their medical appointments on time.
“Tri-Valley Transit and Gifford Health Care share the goal of providing the best quality service. Our close partnership allows staff from both organizations to work together to ensure community members are getting the health care they need,” Jim Moulton, Executive Director of Tri-Valley Transit said. “Whether we’re partnering on transportation programs, financial support or addressing broader community health we are proud to have Gifford in our corner.”
The Vermont Foodbank
The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners, including Gifford. In 2022, The foodbank distributed 12.5 million pounds of food to communities across Vermont. Of that, a record 4.1 million pounds was fresh fruits and vegetables and a full 32.6% of the food distributed was fresh food (produce, meat and dairy).
Throughout the pandemic, Gifford has been proud to host the foodbank’s monthly VeggieVanGo drive-thru food distribution event. With the current impact of both the public health crisis and the economic crisis, recovery will take time, especially for those most vulnerable in our communities. Those who have disproportionately and historically faced higher rates of food insecurity count on this event.
2 in 5: The number of people in Vermont who have experienced food insecurity in the past year. (UVM NFACT July 2022) Far higher than the 9.6% food insecurity rate Vermont saw before the COVID-19 pandemic, and higher than at any point in 2020 or 2021.
Last year, Gifford worked with the foodbank to create a drop-and-go model that allow greater distribution of fresh produce to places serving the senior population. “Gifford’s work has helped to inform the way fresh produce is now distributed in partnership with organizations around the state,” Vermont Foodbank Government and Public Affairs Officer, Carrie Stahler said.
Distribution Stats: Fresh food distribution events hosted by more than 25 partners, hospitals and schools continue as primarily drive-thru events across all Vermont counties each month, distributing fresh foods to an average of 7,400 households a month, a 111% increase from the average households served in 2021.
Vermont Technical College (VTC)
Vermont Technical College’s School of Nursing and Health Professionals prepare students to pass their licensure exams at rates higher than national averages. VTC offers classrooms and clinical sites around the state including Gifford. The VTC simulation lab on Gifford’s campus in Randolph, allows students to practice what they’ve learned using state-of-the-art simulation technology. VTC has a placement rate of 100% compared to the national average of 89%.
For Gifford Registered Nurse and VTC graduate, Cassidy Metcalf, the VTC Sim Lab at Gifford was a crucial part of her education as a nursing student.
“These are real-life situations that you don’t experience every day,” Metcalf said. “It’s really great to go through those situations in a safe environment, where it’s okay to make mistakes and you can ask questions.”
Support and Services at Home (SASH)
SASH is a wellness program proven to improve health outcomes and reduce health care spending. SASH coordinates the resources of social service agencies, community health providers and nonprofit housing organizations to support Vermonters who choose to live independently at home. Individualized, on-site support is provided by a Wellness Nurse and a trained SASH Care Coordinator.
In our area, SASH is hosted by the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation (RACDC). SASH coordinator, Ann Howard confers regularly with SASH partners including Gifford to help give seniors the tools to make better choices and live happier healthier lives.
Gifford and SASH recently teamed up for the third straight year to distribute 70-holiday stockings to local seniors. Gifford staff purchased useful items like gift cards, mittens, socks and added handwritten notes to spread some holiday cheer. The items were stuffed in bags decorated by the children at Gifford’s Robin’s Nest day care center.
Health care takes teams of people working together for a cause. Thanks to Gifford’s “Partners in Health,” we treat patients who can’t find transportation, feed those who can’t afford groceries for the month, care for those in our aging population who live independently and educate the future nurses and providers who will one day walk the halls of Gifford. We thank them for joining Gifford’s commitment to providing high-quality care.