A Native American health center in Bankers Hill has been awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Conrad Prebys Foundation to strengthen access to health care for nearly 20,000 Native and low-income patients in San Diego.
The grant is part of the Conrad Prebys Foundation’s Strengthening Health Access, Resources and Excellence (SHARE) Initiative, an effort “to ensure access to quality, culturally competent health care in underserved communities.” The San Diego American Indian Health Center is one of 18 clinics in the region to receive funding through recently announced Prebys SHARE Initiative grants totaling $8.1 million, three of which are American health centers.
The South Indian Health Council in Alpine and Indian Health Council in North County also received $500,000 each to increase access to health care for Indigenous communities in rural areas of the county. Other award recipients include Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, San Ysidro Health, the Fourth Trimester Project at UC San Diego and Vista Community Clinic, among others.
SDAIHC will use its grant funding for outreach and health education programs to close health care disparities and encourage patients to seek medical services, and to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the community.
“It’s going to really help us get into those areas and interact with people that we wouldn’t normally be able to interact with because maybe they weren’t comfortable even accessing care, and I think that’s going to have a huge impact,” said Kevin LaChapelle, CEO of the SDAIHC.
The grant will also be used to encourage expecting parents to access antenatal care. The Centers for Disease Control reports that Native Americans are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related issues as White patients.
“Several recent studies published in the American Medical Association showed that Native American women were not receiving adequate prenatal health care, and had the highest infant mortality,” said Reggie Smith, SDAIHC’s philanthropy and community relations consultant.
Although about a third of SDIHC’s 20,000 patients are tribal members, the clinic serves both Native and non-Native patients under its dual funding through the Indian Health Service and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
The Conrad Prebys Foundation is a San Diego nonprofit that has funded various projects, including a recent grant of $300,000 to support the merger of the Museum of Photographic Art and the San Diego Museum of Art.