Creighton Community Collaborative highlighted by Gov. Ricketts
Pictured above from left are Maureen Tierney, MD, School of Medicine, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Ashley Aubry, RDH, School of Dentistry.
Maureen Tierney, MD, associate dean of Clinical Research and Public Health at the Creighton School of Medicine, and Ashley Aubry, RDH, assistant professor in the School of Dentistry and public health hygienist for the Healthy Smiles Dental Sealant Program, spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 6, with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts about the impact of the Creighton Community Collaborative.
Made possible by a $5.4 million multiyear investment from UnitedHealthcare and Nebraska Medicaid, the Creighton Community Collaborative was formed in late 2021 to improve the health of vulnerable families by investing in and creating innovative community-based projects that focus on addressing the main social determinants of health – access to housing, food and health care. The executive steering committee of the collaborative includes representatives from Creighton University, the Douglas County Health Department and community members.
“We want to help strengthen the infrastructure of key community-based organizations,” said Jeff Stafford, CEO of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Nebraska. “Our mission is to serve the needs of Nebraskans through innovative programs and community investments that reduce disparities and increase access to high-quality care.”
One of Creighton’s key roles as the academic partner within the collaborative has been to oversee the evaluation of funding proposals, assist in the development of new proposals from community-based organizations and then evaluate whether resources are being directed in the most impactful way.
“What we endeavor to do is to measure the success of each program to determine if it’s working – then we define outcomes tailored to specific projects to see if the interventions have been successful,” Tierney said. “So far, we have provided support for 15 community-based programs, some new and some already existing.”
Efforts like the CURA Diabetes Project and the Healthy Smiles Dental Sealant Program are just two examples of how the Creighton Community Collaborative is supporting better health outcomes for Nebraskans.
“Funding from UnitedHealthcare and Medicaid has made Healthy Smiles sustainable and even allowed it to expand,” Aubry said. “This expansion has helped us grow so that we can be in more places at once and more effectively serve our community."
The Creighton Community Collaborative will continue to focus on addressing the needs of underserved people with innovative investment approaches to housing, food insecurity and access to primary health care through at least 2023.
“We know there are many factors that can impact an individual’s health,” Ricketts said. “At the state, we are working with our Medicaid health plans to address the conditions that contribute to health outcomes.”