Indiana Department of Health partners with Purdue University on effort to ensure more equitable access to health services

The Indiana Department of Health has partnered with Purdue University on a new initiative that aims to ensure Hoosiers have better access to the resources they need to improve their health.

The two-year Indiana Healthy Opportunities for People Everywhere (I-HOPE) initiative will deploy teams across the state to facilitate community-level conversations, resulting in strategies to address the factors that prevent people from living their healthiest lives. The work will examine longstanding risk factors, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hoosiers’ health. The effort is being funded by a $34.8 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Chronic disease, food insecurity, opioids, obesity and smoking were challenges for Indiana before the pandemic, and the last two years of isolation and treatment delays have only made them worse,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “As we amplify pandemic recovery efforts, it’s more important than ever to understand and respond to the factors that make it difficult for people to get healthy and stay healthy, such as limited access to healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, childcare, and safe and secure employment. I-HOPE will help us do that.”

During the two-year project, the teams deployed by Purdue Healthcare Advisors at the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering will collaborate with I-HOPE partners working on projects statewide, as well as with 30 Indiana counties that have been most impacted by the pandemic. The initial focus areas will include Cass, Daviess, Elkhart, Lake, and Wayne counties, then will expand to Adams, Allen, Blackford, Clark, Clinton, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Jackson, Jay, Jefferson, Kosciusko, La Porte, Madison, Marshall, Noble, Orange, Ripley, Scott, St. Joseph, Sullivan, Switzerland, Tipton, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties.  

The I-HOPE initiative is independent of, but will complement, the work of the Governor’s Public Health Commission, which was established in August to examine Indiana’s public health infrastructure. The 15-member commission is charged with analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Indiana’s current public health system and identifying ways to improve funding and equitable delivery of public health services in the future, with a focus on legislation.

For more information about I-HOPE, visit http://i-hope.purdue.edu.