HealthVisions Midwest (HVM) was founded in November 1998 to further the mission and values of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in Allen County after St. Joseph Hospital was sold. HealthVisions Midwest held focus groups throughout the community to determine the most needed areas of focus among our poorest and most powerless populations. This led to concentrated efforts to remove lead in public housing and creating community gardens which enabled people to grow their own food, and understand healthier eating habits.
From the beginning, it has been all about partnerships. Community Health Improvement Councils were established in several zip codes in Fort Wayne to collect data and assess health needs. As a result of the information collected, HVM sponsored Chapter Two health and exercise programs for seniors and worked with the local health department to prevent lead poisoning. These first collaborations have evolved into the Allen County Health Disparities Coalition with over 80 members.
HealthVisions ministries have evolved over the years. As others are able to continue a program, HVM lets go and moves on to other areas. A few of the former programs were:
- Prevention of Lead Poisoning – Fort Wayne/Allen County
- Healthy Eating through Community Gardens — St. Joseph and Allen Counties
- Medical Mobile Unit for Mishawaka, Plymouth and South Bend, IN
- Prenatal Care Coordination – Lake County, IN
- REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health/Alcance): Pre-natal Care for Hispanic Women – Lake County, IN
- MORE (Mission Outreach Reaching Everyone): Empowered congregations to provide outreach ministries—East St. Louis, IL
The evolution of our programs shows how we stay attuned to the signs of the time. A significant part of HVM is partnerships. We encourage organizations to work together and to refer clients to each other’s resources. We break down the silo mentality. Creating an atmosphere of working together speaks to sustainability. HealthVisions has programs in three locations: Fort Wayne and Hammond, IN and in East St. Louis, IL.
- Bridges to Wellness Program/Network – Hammond
- Community Health Worker Training -- Hammond
- Breast and Cervical Cancer/WiseWoman Programs – Hammond
- Mission Outreach Reaching Everyone (MORE) – East St. Louis
- Faith in Action to Serve and Transform (FAST) – East St. Louis
- Living a Healthy Life (Chronic Disease Self-Management) – East St. Louis
- American Diabetes Association’s HEAL and DEEP programs East St. Louis and Hammond
- Allen County Health Disparities Coalition – Fort Wayne
- Diabetes Self-Management – Fort Wayne
- Empowered Program – Fort Wayne
In 2016 HealthVisions Midwest became the premiere certifying vendor for INCHWA (Indiana Community Health Worker Association) certifying Community Health Workers across the state of Indiana.