Meet the Grantee: Galveston County Health District
Through the generosity of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas’ Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant, It’s Time Texas awarded the community-based, Galveston County organization: Galveston County Health District sub-grant funding through the It’s Time Texas Collaborative Innovations for Community Health (CICH) program.
The Collaborative Innovations for Community Health (CICH) program began in 2021 and provides funding for community-based organizations who mobilize and quickly distribute resources where they are most needed within targeted communities. This year, It’s Time Texas targeted two regions of Texas: San Antonio Metro and Galveston County. A total of five community-based organizations were chosen from these two areas in Texas. Funding supports the delivery of effective programs and services that improve critical health outcomes, address root causes of health disparities, remove barriers to access, and advance community conditions for health and wellness. It’s Time Texas partners with these grantees throughout the year to support their projects and initiatives, as well as their marketing and communication efforts in order to enhance their mission and visibility within their community.
Throughout the 2022 project period, It’s Time Texas is funding and partnering with Galveston County Health District, whose mission is to protect and promote optimal health and wellbeing for Galveston County community members.
Ashley Sciba, the Director of Community Health Services for Galveston County Health District, focuses on outreach and engaging within the community to provide as many services as possible and needed for community members. “We have our public health nurses, and for the past couple of years, our main focus was COVID-19, which meant anything from testing to mass vaccination distribution, outreach and education on the vaccine, et cetera,” explained Ms. Sciba. “I’m excited that now, as we continue to tread carefully with the virus, we can start to open back up our other programs to the community and really be more hands-on again with our programming.”
The Collaborative Innovations for Community Health funding is primarily supporting the Galveston County Health District’s HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) program. The main focus of HEAL is to prevent disease as much as possible, instilling healthy habits in children to adults, allowing them to learn and grow in health, all while having fun.
“Recently we had a Community Day, geared more toward children. We had jump ropes, hula hoops, exercise dice, and food models to see where the children are at in nutrition education,” smiled Ms. Sciba. “The food models are fun too, because the adults that are there also get very interested when seeing how much sugar they’re consuming, and things like that. Overall HEAL is a program for everyone!”
Galveston County Health District has reached out to the three biggest school districts regarding their HEAL program and plan to take part in summer camps, bring back their diabetes classes, and host their fun run come fall. The summer camps’ involvement will be curriculum-based, with pre- and post-tests for children to take, so Galveston County Health District can see the direct impact they are making through education and fun physical activity sessions.
“The diabetes classes are more for adults. I’m proud of bringing this back. We offer 1:1 consultation with our nurses and right now have a class once a month for anyone to attend. The plan is to have on-site classes and we are still exploring virtual. Everything we do, we want to make it sustainable and accessible to everyone in Galveston County,” said Ms. Sciba.
The last HEAL fun run occurred in 2020, just before COVID-19 shut everything down. The event was a 5K and one mile race for anyone at any fitness level. There was also a health fair, local vendors, giveaways, raffles, and more to encourage attendees to be healthier and have fun, while learning ways to implement healthy habits. The plan is to bring back the fun run this fall on an even bigger scale.
“I love working for Galveston County Health District because it’s the community I grew up in. I know the area and its people well, and I work alongside people who genuinely care for and want to help others. The whole goal is to help people have longer, healthier lives. I’m proud of the work we do and can’t wait to see the community come together during our HEAL fun run this fall!”