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United Way NSV Works for a Healthier Community

Good Health is both a community responsibility and a community benefit: it goes beyond personal diet, exercise and the many other individual choices we make. The foundation for a healthy life is in the neighborhoods we have built and environments we inhabit. When people have access to parks, bike paths, safe playgrounds, healthy foods, and good medical care, they are more likely to succeed in school, work and life.

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Our Priorities

The 2017-2020 needs assessment identified the following as United Way NSV priorities through 2020:

I. Families and individuals are able to access quality and affordable health care which includes: physical, dental, mental health, and wellness.


Partner with organizations to reduce barriers to access, by covering co-pays for physical, mental health and wellness services. 

Invest in Programs that:

o Help individuals improve and maintain their physical, oral and mental health to contribute to a better overall social wellbeing.

o Assist individuals by providing transportation solutions for appointments.

II. Children and Youth have access to emergency and ongoing mental health and counseling services. 


Invest in Programs that:

o Expand youth mental health psychiatric services, counseling services, treatment services, and case management services.

o Educate administrators, teachers and other school staff on how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

III. Reduce substance use/abuse and all its devastating consequences on individuals, families, and communities.


Utilize partnerships to raise awareness about substance use and addiction. 

Invest in Programs that:

o Prevent substance abuse among youth.

o Provide a full range of drug and alcohol treatment programs focused on a person's specific needs, regardless of their ability to pay.

IV. Prevent and respond to domestic violence.


Invest in Programs that:

o Promote healthy environments as well as programs that support victims of domestic violence by helping them and their families find services, safety, and stable housing.


Our Impact

United Way NSV invested in Health programs over a 3 year Period (2014-2016). Understandably, some programs saw an overlap between all the priority needs. 

How is United Way NSV investing in programs and services provided by area agencies that are addressing these needs?

Access to Affordable Health Care including Mental and Dental Health:
  • Apple Country Head Start - Spot Vision Screener to perform vision screening, poor vision can directly affect learning so early detection of vision problems will benefit the students.

  • Free Medical Clinic NSV - To provide medical visits for 850 of our chronic disease clients and cardiovascular and diabetes treatment for low Income individuals. 

  • Healthy Families Shenandoah County - Provides in-home support and education to parents of young children to address the local priority need for prevention of the effects of risk behaviors such as teen pregnancy and abuse/neglect.

  • Northern Shenandoah Valley Dental Clinic - Provide dental screenings during the Healthy Living Events.

  • Shenandoah Community Health Clinic - To provide counseling sessions and mental health services to patients.

  • Shenandoah County Dental Clinic - To provide treatment to uninsured, indigent adults in Shen. County.

Needs of an Increasing Senior Population:
  • Adult Care Center - Provide Certification of Music Therapist in a specialized Music and Memory program. Purchase equipment in order to improve and expand daily exercise sessions with clients, offer a weekly exercise class for family caregivers, and offer two community programs that focus on exercise and dementia. Nutrition and adaptive feeding tools for clients with Alzheimer’s and other illnesses.

  • Faith in Action - To maintain capacity and increase service delivery by 15% providing non-emergency medical transportation to residents living in the City of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick and Shenandoah Counties.

  • Shenandoah Area agency on Aging - Matching funds for Well Tran Program (transportation services offered transports those individuals who face barriers to transportation).

Prevention and Treatment of Risk Behaviors (abuse/neglect, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and HIV prevention):
  • AbbaCare, Inc. - Update curriculum for educational classes and sexual integrity program for pre-teen/teen boys in the juvenile detention system.

  • Aids Response Effort - HIV prevention activities that include both education and risk reduction tools, increased accessibility to free Rapid HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral (CTR) Services. 

  • Center CAC - Provide mental health treatment services to child abuse victims and their non-offending caretakers. 

  • CLEAN, Inc. - Rx123 outreach campaign to provide extensive education and awareness on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

  • Lord Fairfax House (COA) - Provide transitional residential scholarships for chemically dependent individuals.

  • Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition - Provides funding for the treatment of five Drug Treatment Court individuals.

  • ABBA Care, Inc. - Engage at-risk clients with prenatal education offering health awareness, referrals and resources. 

  • Girls on the Run - Participation scholarships.

Mental Health Education and Access to Care:
  • Concern Hotline - Implement Mental Health First Aid trainings quarterly, and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) trainings. Add 2015 Sourcebook on their interactive website.

  • NAMI - Strengthen and expand programs that directly help clients affected by serious mental illness, programs include, In Our Own Voice anti-stigma presentations, Peer-to-peer recovery education course, basic education courses and family to family education courses.

To see a full list of the impact grants awarded in the Health category click here.

Priority Needs Review (2014-2017)

The 2014-2017 United Way NSV Community Needs Assessment was published in July of 2014. The report provided a progress report on the social conditions targeted in 2010 and recommended the following funding priorities: 

  1. Affordable and accessible health/mental health care for people in need.

  2. Health needs of an increasing senior population. 

  3. Prevention of the effects of risk behaviors (i.e. obesity, abuse/neglect, teen pregnancy and substance abuse). 

  4. Mental health education and access to care. 

* Benchmarks for comparing progress were based on the County Health Rankings. One or more of those benchmarks may have changed since 2014 when the data was pulled, so the comparisons are based on the actual County health Ranking Benchmarks for 2016 and then compared to the benchmarks in 2014 but using the same indicators and measurements so that the comparison was more accurate. 

Valley Health conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment in August of 2013 and released an updated report in November of 2016. To provide insight into trends, a comparison to findings from the August 2013 CHNA were included in the 2016 report. The CHNA ranks the top six community health needs. The top four needs that were identified in 2016 did not differ from the 2013 report. Access to Primary and Preventative Care was number one, Mental and Behavioral Health was number two, Substance Abuse and Tobacco Smoking was third and Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity- related Chronic Diseases was ranked fourth. The changes between the 2016 and 2013 Valley Health CHNA came in rankings five and six.  Financial hardship and basic needs insecurity was not one of the top health priority areas identified in WMC’s August 2013 CHNA, but that assessment did note several financial hardship measures relevant to health. The study reported that the community experienced a 19 percent increase in the percentage of households (incomes under $25,000) since 2009. Maternal and child health indicators, including teen pregnancy and infant mortality, were not identified as top health priorities in Winchester Medical Center’s August 2013 CHNA but showed up as the six top ranking need in 2016.  

Oral Health and Dental Care was ranked fifth in the 2013 CHNA and fell off the list in 2016. It’s not abundantly clear what that reason is, it’s possible the other needs outweighed it or that investment by Valley Health and United Way NSV did help close the gap in this area. 


The Needs (2017-2020)

Key findings from the 2017-2020 needs assessment for the health section are found below. To download the complete needs assessment see the link at the top of the webpage. 

Access to Care:
  • Four of six jurisdictions (Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren) ranked in the bottom half of all counties in the “access to care” category of the County Health Rankings. The 2016 County Health Rankings measures have changed slightly for the Access to Care indicator to include ratio of population to mental health providers. (Figure 4.1)

  • Page, Shenandoah, Warren and Winchester have higher percentages of uninsured residents than the State of Virginia average. (Figure 4.4)

  • Concerns about access to care were the most frequently mentioned factor contributing to poor health in key informant interviews.

  • Lack of accessible or reliable transportation to health care and a lack of providers who accept new Medicaid and even Medicare patients were the most frequently mentioned specific access to care issues in interviews, especially for low-income individuals and senior citizens.

  • Thirty-two percent of survey respondents reported not being able to always get needed basic primary care due to no insurance and 14.4% reported that they could not afford the medical care. (Valley Health)

Mental and Behavioral Health:
  • Clarke County and Page County are classified as Medically Underserved Areas (MUA). For an explanation on the MUA classification, please see page 9 in Appendix D. (Figure 4.6)

  • Page County and Shenandoah County are classified as having dental and mental health professional shortages. Warren County and Winchester are classified as having dental health professional shortages. (Figure 4.5 and 4.6)

  • Mental and behavioral health was the second most frequently mentioned health status issue by key informants. Interviewees generally reported that the community’s mental health needs have grown, while the mental health service capacity has not. (Valley Health)

  • According to suicide death rate data from the Virginia Department of Health our region has had a sharp spike in suicide deaths since 2010. (Figure 4.11)

  • The main concern mentioned by key informants was connecting patients with services needed. Wait times are very long for patients to see a clinician. (Valley Health)

Substance Abuse:
  • Substance abuse affects not only the individual substance user, but those around them; negatively impacting health, safety and risky behaviors, including violence and crime, adult productivity, student ability to learn, and families’ ability to function.

  • Opioid overdose deaths have been a rising issue within our community. Data from the Virginia Department of Health show the increasing number of opioid deaths since 2011. (Figure 4.9)

  • Deaths from drug overdose are expected to increase an additional 25% in 2016. 

  • A measure of alcohol use based on binge and excessive drinking placed Clarke and Frederick counties in the second quartile of all Virginia Counties, according to County Health Rankings report. (Figure 4.3)

  • Substance abuse was a major concern and mentioned frequently by key informant interview participants. It was portrayed as a growing and serious issue. (Valley Health)

  • Substance abusers are often classified as offenders, and have limited options for seeking treatment. 

Youth Mental Health:
  • The major concern mentioned by key informants was the need for more providers to care for children with mental and behavioral health issues. The Winchester Community has limited resources for this type of community need. (Valley Health)

  • 20.6% of middle schoolers in the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) seriously thought about killing themselves. This outpaced high schoolers of which 12.7% considered attempting suicide. (Figure 4.14 and 4.15)

  • 6.8% of middle schoolers and 5.3% of high schoolers attempted suicide. This data outpaces the US average of 1.9% and Virginia Average of 2.8%. (Figure 4.14 and 4.15)

  • For every dollar spent on drug use prevention, communities can save $4 to $5 in costs for drug abuse treatment and counseling.