We are grateful for more than 40 committee and board volunteers whose guidance makes it possible to enhance the mental well-being of youth and children in Lancaster County. As we begin 2019,these are the transitions for the LOHF board.

Welcome our new treasurer

Sean Post, CPA, Senior Accountant, Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP

Sean also serves on our Audit Committee, and our Finance and Investment Committee. As a Senior Accountant at Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP, Sean handles all aspects of audit, attest services, and financial statement preparation. Sean serves on the firm’s Government, Employee Benefit Plan, and Forensic Accounting Practice Groups. He holds a bachelor of science in accounting degree from Elizabethtown College.Sean is a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants,Treasurer of the L.G. Cook 4-H Campfire Counsel, and member of Leadership Lancaster’s Core Class of 2017. In his spare time, Sean enjoys recreational sports with friends.

Welcome our new board members

Arthur Ace, Business Development Officer, PNC Wealth Management

Arthur also serves on our Finance & Investment Committee. As a Client Advisor with PNC Wealth Management, he has a recognized history of working in the financial services industry. Leveraging strong analytical, consulting and relationship management capabilities to assist clients in the areas of investment and asset management, succession strategies, estate planning, and administration. Arthur is a member of the Lancaster County Estate Planning Council and Civil Air Patrol. He graduated with a degree in Finance from Spalding University in Louisville, KY. Arthur is fluent in Russian and Ukrainian. He is engaged to Rachel. Together, they enjoy their Yorkie, Kingston.

Kimberly Fletcher, PHR, SHRM-CP, Chief Personnel Officer, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County

Kimberly has a 20-year tenure in human resources development, including strategic management, recruitment, employee relations, training, on-boarding, benefits administration, professional development administration, and special events coordination.  Her experiences include working with people from diverse economic, academic, and cultural backgrounds. Kimberly’s broad career as a human resource professional has been enriched through experience in childcare, secondary education, and college administration. She is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College.

Carrie Lee Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, Millersville University

As associate professor of sociology, Carrie studies sex and gender, medical sociology, sociology of reproduction and birth, work and the profession, sociology of the family, religion, race and ethnicity, qualitative methods, scholarship of teaching and learning, and community-based research. Since 2014, she has served as a Faculty Research Fellow at the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change at Millersville University. Carrie also serves on the boards of the Edward Hand Medical Museum,and Ambassadors for Hope. She earned her PhD in Sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Angela M. Trout, JD, Development Director, Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services

Angela has an extensive career in journalism, and nonprofit organizations. As a parent advocate, she brings a passion for children’s mental health. Angela is responsible for securing private and foundation funding, and food and clothing donations, for Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services. The organization serves neighbors experiencing poverty. Angela previously led marketing and communications for the YWCA Lancaster. She is a graduate of Massachusetts School of Law (North Andover, Mass.) and Wilmington University.

Many thanks to our outgoing board members

Terry Sweigart, Treasurer

Terry will continue to volunteer for LOHF on our Audit Committee, and our Finance & Investment Committee. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Temple University. He recently retired from his role as Business Manager for Lampeter-Strasburg School District. Terry served as President of the Lancaster-Lebanon School Insurance Program for Property and Casualty Insurance. He has also served on the boards of Employee’s Health Care Cooperative, Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau and Lancaster-Lebanon Joint Authority.

Carrie Bruey, PsyD, BCBA

Carrie is the supervisor of Lancaster-Lebanon IU-13 Autism Solutions, and Supervisor of School Psychologists. She chaired our Child Health and Wellness Committee, and will continue to volunteer on that committee. She is a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist, and board certified behavior analyst with more than 30 years of experience working with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their families and provider agencies. She has published various chapters and books relevant to diagnosing and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum.


LOHF hosted a small group of local experts for discussion on how emotional trauma affects physical health. We
viewed the TEDx MED talk given by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime.

Children who experience adversity and trauma have an increased risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and even some cancers. That’s why professionals in healthcare, social services, and education are re-evaluating the way we respond to childhood adversity. They are discovering that the consistent presence of at least one supportive adult in a child’s life can counteract trauma, preventing these health problems.

LOHF hosted a small group of local experts for discussion on how emotional trauma affects physical health. We viewed the TEDx MED talk given by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime.

In the small group, each shared professional experiences with this topic. The discussion recognized the current limitations of professionals working in industry silos. The importance of providers asking students and families to sign releases was also punctuated as a first step to improve collaboration and patient care.

The trauma-informed care movement has traction here

From this meaningful discussion, and similar ones with our grantee cohorts, we’ve discovered many share this hope for Lancaster County to become a trauma-informed community. And they are making strides to do it.

  • Warwick School District hosts weekly student services meetings between a social worker, Intermediate Unit, guidance counselors, principal, and school nurses. This is a forum for staff to present concerns about a teen. The group can suggest appropriate interventions if necessary. Using ACEs as a commonly understood term allows a member of this multidisciplinary team to indicate concern for a teen without the need to describe adversity or trauma in detail.
  • Police officers are getting training on trauma, through a grant from LOHF to Community Action Partnership and the RMO.
  • Behavioral health providers at Community Services Group are talking with school nurses, and scout leaders about how to positively impact children who may have experienced adversity or trauma.
  • Providers of Family-Based Mental Health Services for children and adolescents at risk of hospitalization or our-of-home services now have training in trauma-informed care.
  • Specific certifications for providers are emerging, such as Trauma-Focused CBT.
  • Millersville University are embedding trauma-informed training in their Social Work degree programs.
  • School nurses are teaching youth and children about the scientific causes of depression and anxiety, and how to navigate the symptoms if they experience them.
  • Lancaster Theological Seminary is educating clergy about trauma and ACEs.
  • More therapists, counselors, and primary care providers are learning how to ask the ACE questions in one-on-one conversations in the context of their trusted relationships with their clients and patients.
  • Millersville University and Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences have added courses addressing stereotypes, bias, and culture. (ACEs can often be a result of repeated exposure to these throughout childhood and adolescence.)
  • Millersville University has also begun training faculty to be champions for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in order to shift culture and change systems.
  • Prison staff, probation officers, and parole agents including probation, parole officers are receiving ACEs training through the Re-entry Management Organization.
  • Community Action Partnership has trained more than 1,500 adults in Trauma 101, across many sectors of Lancaster County.

Building on our momentum

Group input included the following as important next steps toward Lancaster County becoming a trauma-informed community, and reversing the effects of ACEs on our youth and children.

  • Coordinated effort to train early childhood educators, and parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, about ACEs.
  • Educate clergy through groups that already meet regularly.
  • Education about how our biases guide our thinking and influence our decisions, and how this relates to ACEs.
  • Teaching foster parents about ACEs.
  • Small groups at churches can view the TEDx MED talk given by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime.  
  • Embed ACEs education within curricula for nursing and education careers. Use social work curricula as a model.
  • When K-12 education focused on standardized testing, social-emotional curricula was lost, and we need to shift back to it.
  • Using ACEs language in classrooms teaches kids how to give names to their feelings, and understand the science behind symptoms.
  • Train/retrain Children & Youth Agency about ACEs (including Youth Intervention Center staff)
  • Improve coordination between placements and schools. Create placements within school buildings to minimize trauma caused by separation.
  • School social workers should become budgeted, required positions in Pennsylvania.
  • Licensed clinical social workers in schools should be able to provide clinical care and submit for reimbursement.
  • Fund more social workers instead of school resource officers (police).
  • Train prenatal providers on ACEs.
  • Create a parent education resource handout for healthcare providers to give parents in exam rooms.

To learn more, or join the movement to make Lancaster County a trauma-informed community, please visit the Lancaster County (PA) ACEs & Resilience Connection group online community.

Or attend the new Trauma-Informed Lancaster workgroup for building community awareness (Friday, Jan. 11, 8:30-9:30 am, in the Third Floor Conference Room at the LGH Suburban Outpatient Pavillion, 2100 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy will chair the meeting and you may contact her for more details.

Guest Post by John Walker, Board Chair

More often than I would like, I hear about kids who need help with anxiety and depression. I hear about kids who are suffering, and parents who don’t know where to turn. I’ve even experienced some sad losses this year, as I know some you have too. There is simply a great urgency to do all we can to improve access to behavioral health services for kids and their families.

The need is so great that it can feel overwhelming at times. It reminds me of a story you have probably heard.

It matters to the one

A young girl walked along a beach where thousands of starfish had been washed up during a storm. With each step, she bent over and picked up a starfish and threw it back into the water.

She’d been doing this for some time when a man approached her and asked, “Why are you doing that? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl looked down and thought about it. Then she took another step, picked up another starfish and threw it back in the water. “Well, I made a difference for that one!” As she kept going, the man joined her. Then so did others.

That’s what we’re doing. We’re throwing starfish back in the ocean. Each of our efforts helps one child.

You matter to a child

The collective dollars and talent of LOHF supporters make each and every one of them an integral part of this movement to elevate the mental well-being of youth and children in Lancaster County. We can’t thank you enough!

Through their generosity, we’ve provided continuing medical education in children’s behavioral health to 140 physicians this year. These trainings are held 4-6 times per year at UPMC Pinnacle – Lititz, and are open to the public. If you’d like to join us for one or more of these free presentations in 2019, we’d love to have you!

Collectively, LOHF supporters provided similar training for school administrators and primary care providers through the Medical Education Coalition with IU13. This included important conversations addressing student and parent concerns about confidentiality. In May, the training will focus on school avoidance, anxiety, and truancy.

We know that physicians, behavioral healthcare professionals, and school personnel are not the only professionals we rely on to care for our kids. Again, thanks to the gifts of LOHF supporters, 27 nurses received a total of $63,000 in scholarships this year.

It doesn’t stop there. Thanks to LOHF donors and volunteers, we have completed research and development for NavWell: Pathways to Well-being. We developed this secure, online system to improve children’s behavioral health by connecting primary care providers with behavioral health providers. Discussions are happening with healthcare systems and providers about launching a pilot. We can’t wait to see NavWell fulfilling its potential by equipping primary and behavioral healthcare providers for collaborative care that benefits kids!

Remarkably, donations provided mental health copay assistance for 158 children and parents in financial need. These families paid just $10 per visit for their appointments with licensed behavioral healthcare providers. Think fora minute about a family that has been able to get mental health support that couldn’t before. Our supporters came through for them!

Together, we elevated the mental well-being of 38,682 youth and children through the LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants program. Together, we put them back in the water to thrive. Each and every donor and volunteer makes this possible.

You matter to us

The need is great, and seems insurmountable at times. But like the girl rescuing starfish, we’re making a difference for the ones we can reach. We can’t do it without your help. With your help, we are elevating the mental well-being of youth and children right here in our communities—one, by one, by one.

On behalf of the kids and families who benefit from your gifts, and the board and staff of LOHF, thank you. You are truly changing lives, one at a time.

We look forward to another year of standing on the sand with you, helping starfish back into the water.

Guest post by Emily Pressley, DO
Psychiatrist, Penn Medicine/LGH

Our youth are in crisis with depression and suicide. To turn this around, we must understand the magnitude of the crisis, the risk factors, warning signs, and ways to support our youth.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young people ages 15-24. A whopping 20% of high school students have seriously considered ending their lives. Each year, 575,000 young people attempt it. Sadly, 4,600 succeed. Every year.

That’s more than half a million of our nation’s youth choosing to end their lives with firearms (45%), suffocation/hanging (40%), poisoning/overdose (8%), and other means.

What puts youth at risk for depression and suicide?

Factors that increase a young person’s risk for suicide include:

  • Mental illness, including depression, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders
  • Interpersonal losses
  • Family violence
  • Sexual identity confusion
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Bullying
  • Educational and discipline problems
  • Family history of depression
  • Medical issues, such as asthma, diabetes, migraines
  • Obesity
  • History of suicide attempts
  • Negative body image
  • Low self-esteem
  • Antisocial peer group

Prevention starts with knowing the warning signs

Suicide is difficult to predict. But there are signs we should not ignore. These include:

  • Talking about dying. Any mention of self-harm (such as disappearing, jumping, shooting self) communicated directly, or through social media
  • Recent loss through death, divorce, breakup of relationship
  • Loss of interest in activities and social contacts
  • Change in personality (such as sadness, withdrawal, irritability, anxiety, loss of energy, apathy)
  • Change in behavior, difficulty concentrating, failing grades
  • Change in sleep patterns (too much or too little sleep, nightmares)
  • Change in eating habits (loss of appetite, loss of weight, overeating)
  • Loss of control (acting erratically, harm to self or others
  • Increase in substance use
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame
  • Hopelessness

Next steps: screening and treatment

Early detection can lead to early treatment. This can be done through depression/suicide risk screening. A behavioral healthcare professional, and often a primary healthcare provider, can provide one or more evidence-based screenings available.

The teen may then be referred for treatment. Treatment should last for at least 6 months, and may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy (as a first line of therapy)
  • Medication that is FDA approved for use by adolescents (for more severe depression)

Treatment should NOT include:

  • Tricyclic anti-depressants. They have been found to be ineffective in adolescents.

Any medication therapy should be closely monitored. If the teen does not respond to medication therapy, or shows and increase in mood swings, they should be re-evaluated for possible bipolar disorder.

If a teen you know shows warning signs, reach out to your primary care provider or behavioral health professional for a screening.                                                                                                                                                                

Applications are open for the spring 2019 LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants. Applications must be submitted online by March 1, 2019.

Based on research, including our Youth Behavioral Health Study, we have learned that mental/behavioral health services for youth and children exist, but that the system is fragmented. Families are overwhelmed and confused, and providers lack the tools to refer families for therapy, counseling, and treatment. Therefore, our grants invest in practical solutions that elevate the mental well-being of youth and children in Lancaster County.

Here’s what’s new

Funded programs must address at least one of the outcomes we have listed to choose from. We recommend applicants first review and download our UPDATED LOGIC MODEL as a guide before applying.

  • Increase access for children to have behavioral healthcare
  • Ensure seamless transition of behavioral healthcare services for youth into young adulthood (ages 14-26)
  • Help families navigate mental/behavioral healthcare and resources
  • Integrate behavioral healthcare in primary care practices
  • Build caregiver confidence to use strengths-based approaches
  • Train professionals in methods that enhance patient mental/behavioral health
  • Expand behavioral health screenings in primary care

How we make our grant award decisions

These are the questions we ask our volunteer committee members when they review grant applications. Each question is scored, and we award funding to the highest scored applications.

  • To what degree will children’s behavioral health be enhanced by this?
  • To what degree will this fill an existing gap in services?
  • How viable is this in terms of the organization’s staff capacity?
  • How much impact can our funding have based on the overall project?
  • How much of a positive return on investment will there be for Lancaster County?
  • To what degree does it align with our values?
  • How well will we be able to measure the success of this project?
  • To what degree does this utilize data-driven best practices?

We encourage all applicants to carefully review our grants program page, then discuss your request with our executive director before applying.

LOHF recently convened a discussion with our grantees regarding access to mental health services for youth during their transition to adulthood. LOHF would like to fund programs to expand services to these transition-age youth. The group discussed questions such as:

  • How can we help teens with mental health needs as they age out of child mental health services to become young adults?
  • What special considerations should we keep in mind as we help teens and young adults navigate their needs for mental health care?

Answering such questions is significant because teens are receiving mental health services in a pediatric system designed for those under age 18. Once they turn 18, many teens must abruptly switch to the adult mental health system. Young people who lack adequate support to navigate the adult mental health care system overnight, often lose access to critical mental health care.

For our discussion, we referred to a recent LOHF blog post about transition age youth, and a summary of themes that emerged from a questionnaire used in the LOHF needs assessment. There are existing mental health services, but they target specific groups such as: teen parents, whole families, mental health court, and trauma-informed care.

What’s already in place

Programs in Lancaster County serving teen and young adult mental health needs include:

  • CSG has had success by pairing education with fun, such as movie nights followed by a discussion, and a community garden.
  • COBYS is starting a kinship information center to help families with workshops and a monthly support group.
  • Children’s Behavioral Health Clinic, CHI-St. Joseph’s Health has a family-oriented coaching program that serves families in their homes. Staff educate families about nutrition, behavior management strategies, exercise, and family engagement. Private dollars fund the program.
  • CAP provides a full-time parent navigator at McCaskey High School. It has launched a similar program with HACC with a crisis worker who can refer students to services.
  • Teen ELECT wants to help school districts provide, or connect with, clinicians such as social workers.
  • Teen Hope provides mental health screenings to high schools and middle schools. To identify students who may be experiencing depression or anxiety. It then connects the family to mental healthcare providers.
  • COBYS will be training therapists in Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), a proven treatment to help persons 18 and older heal from trauma. This is through a criminal justice grant, and they will work the mental health court.

More must be done

  • This is collective impact work. We must find ways to connect services together. In a similar manner as the Let’s Talk collaborative, we must have a clear, concise focus and message to engage all partners with clarity.
  • The solution requires strategic collaboration and a multifaceted approach. It requires community development and communication. We must work together to direct funds to create seamless transition for youth mental healthcare.
  • We must gather data for how many transition-age youth receive mental healthcare and at what levels of care. LOHF welcomes program data from all of our grantees. We will synthesize this information beginning with a non-prescriptive white paper that provides clear vision.

Join the movement

In May 2018, we launched our Grantee Cohort Meetings with a discussion of ACEs & Trauma-Informed Care. We convene each spring and fall to share what’s working and discuss opportunities for future needs.

Please “save the date” for our next Grantee Cohort Meeting on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 8:00 am – 10:00 am, at LOHF.

 

 

 

Student collaboration helps us measurably elevate children’s mental wellbeing

Abigail Jeffreys, Millersville University Sociology Major and 2018 LOHF Intern presents her research at “Made in Millersville.”

For the past year, LOHF has welcomed interns from Millersville University and West Chester University. This has evolved to include collaboration with professors who are incorporating meaningful projects for LOHF into their classes. These students and professors contribute to our success in measurably elevating children’s mental health in Lancaster County. And student feedback indicates their learning is enhanced by this chance to apply their knowledge to meaningful, significant work. Ultimately, the real winners are the children served by LOHF’s grant funding and other programs.

In the past year, the contributions of these college students have included:

  • For their senior capstone project, a team of PR majors from a Millersville University Public Relations class with Dr. Thomas Boyle created a campaign for our first giving circle, Lift Up Children’s Mental Health, to be launched this month.
  • As a cornerstone in their Digital Marketing class with Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel, Millersville students are creating and participating in our ExtraOrdinary Give social media event.
  • To better understand social research methods, Dr. Carrie Smith’s sociology students at Millersville University pitched their research ideas to us for unique new perspectives on how we can better engage Lancaster City residents in our work.
  • Interns from Millersville and West Chester Universities majoring in disciplines of social work, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, and English have also:
    • completed important research on our grants program
    • assisted with our nursing scholarship program
    • helped us create an ongoing forum to collaborate with our grantees and share information
    • created social media posts and graphics
    • made significant contributions to the changes that will be coming to our Website content and functionality

We are so grateful to these students, their professors, and these universities for these mutually beneficial collaborations that are ultimately a win for Lancaster County kids!

Learn how to apply for an LOHF Internship

On Sept. 25, LOHF approved Children’s Behavioral Health Grants to five Lancaster County programs.

“These five programs are reaching families and their children who have specific mental health needs, and for whom access to mental health care may be particularly challenging,” said LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy. “We’re on a mission to measurably elevate mental health for children in Lancaster County.”

  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, Ensuring the Wellbeing of Children Fleeing Domestic Violence through Evidence Based Interventions, $25,000 to expand a partnership between Domestic Violence Services and COBYS that improves the mental health of children fleeing domestic violence, through the use of an evidence-based model. The Seeking Safety program utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to explore such issues as trauma, addiction, and PTSD. The project will increase family competency about children’s mental health by aligning the curriculum between parent and child programs, and focusing on processing the trauma of experiencing and witnessing domestic violence.
  • Aaron’s Acres, Aaron’s Acres Plus, $11,575 to support a new program to meet the needs of young adults, ages 21-26 who have developmental disabilities. There is a tremendous need for therapeutic programs focusing on socialization and communication for individuals once they have graduated from high school. This program will provide opportunities for this group to interact with one another and engage in meaningful activities in a community setting.
  • Lancaster Health Center, Striving to make Lancaster County Reach Out and Read an integral part of regular pediatric visits, $15,000, to improve early literacy skills and early literacy an integral part of checkups in early childhood. Language development in the first five years of life and parent-child shared reading have clear benefits, not just to the child’s language and literacy skills, but also psychosocially for parent and child. Language and communication competence provide critical tools for learning, social relationships and behavior and emotion regulation from infancy and beyond.
  • Lancaster Public Library, Play, Learn, and Grow Series, $12,800, to connect children and their families to the library, and to offer valuable information from community professionals. Early literacy, nutrition, and child development are a few of the important topics covered during the two five-week sessions. With a focus on non-traditional library users, as well as new and young parents, the workshops foster relationships between community resource providers and those who need them most.
  • Compass Mark, Family Services Advocate – Supporting the Unique Needs of Children with Incarcerated Parents, $10,000 to expand the Family Services Advocate program that identifies the unique needs and rights of children with incarcerated parents at Lancaster County Prison. Each child receives a needs assessment, case management, relationship support, and pre/post evaluation. It has been recognized as an innovative early intervention, with demonstrated outcomes for improving resiliency, connecting children and caregivers to community resources, and helping mitigate the impact of childhood trauma.

About LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants Program

LOHF’s grants measurably elevate children’s mental health by supporting local programs that target one or more of the following:

  • Care Coordination: Improve the delivery of children’s behavioral healthcare services.
  • Parent/Caregiver Education: Enhance the capacity of parents, families, and caregivers through trainings and support.
  • Access to Providers: Improve capacity of providers to support and treat children.

We encourage applicants to replicate existing models that have been successful, and to work collaboratively with others to improve mental health services for children and youth ages birth to 26.

An additional $100,000 in grant funds will be available in 2019.

Online applications are now available, and must be submitted online by March 1, 2019. Tax exempt community benefit organizations serving Lancaster County are eligible to apply. To learn more, please visit www.lohf.org/grants.

 

By Teresa Hartmann, PhD
Assistant Professor, Millersville University; Adjunct Faculty, Eastern Mennonite University; 2015 LOHF Nurse Scholarship Recipient

 

As a nurse scientist, I often reflect on the influencing variables that contributed to where I am today. I believe the variables influencing my own journey are found at the intersection of passion and opportunity.

My Advice: Reflect on your roots

Many have sacrificed for you to get to where you are today.  Thank them, appreciate them, and remember how proud they are of you.

As a second generation American, my immigrant grandparents came from Poland and Italy. My maternal great grandmother had the passion to keep my grandfather out of the Italian army, and seized the opportunity to bring him to the United States. My paternal grandmother followed her husband to the U.S. with passion for a better life. This provided opportunity to her 12 children who she ended up raising as a single mother. Several of those children (my aunts) recognized my passion to become a nurse and gave me opportunity by contributing toward my tuition.

My Advice: Don’t shy away from hard work

Know that there will be sacrifices but they are temporary.

Working in a nursing home in high school, and for an OB-GYN practice on weekends (Yes, I cleaned speculums to pay my nursing school tuition) were my opportunity to pay for school.  As a first-generation college student, I learned that hard work and sacrifice are required. But passion is what drives success. Find your personal Board of Directors—those people who support you in various aspects of life and are willing to speak truth into yours.

My Advice: Never say “Never!”

Be willing to test the system and advocate for yourself.  The answer you get might be, “No.” But often, it will be “Yes.”

Finishing my diploma in nursing, I declared that I would never go back to school. I was tired of working so hard. I wanted to have fun. However, my passion for learning quickly overrode my declaration. I enrolled in Millersville University’s RN-BSN program, where I was the only student the department returning to school for a BSN.

Often, it seemed like an insurmountable battle.  Scheduling was a nightmare. There were no 12-hour shifts so I worked evenings, started classes at 8 a.m., and went right back to work. My experience as a BSN student gave me a passion to advocate for 12-hour shifts, and the answer was “yes.” The Emergency Department agreed to a trial, providing more opportunity to earn a BSN.

My Advice: Immerse yourself in an educational journey

Higher education is a privilege.  Take advantage of every experience and opportunity. Disseminate what you have learned as knowledge that is meant to be shared.

Combining my passion for education and love of emergency nursing, I chose a clinical master’s program in Burns, Emergency, and Trauma Nursing. This gave me opportunity to work in clinical environments with clinical experts. They expanded my knowledge base and mentored me to become a clinical nurse specialist. As an ED nurse, I loved to educate anyone who would listen to me—new grads, patients, co-workers, and physicians.

Years later, I found myself in an uncomfortable place. I had to draw a line in the sand and decide who I was. I chose to stand true to my beliefs and values. Subsequently, I stepped away from education, into case management. This was an opportunity to expand my knowledge about healthcare reimbursement, and explore innovative solutions to patients’ needs. I was passionate about what nurses were accountable for, yet not learning in school.

This passion prompted my 6-year journey toward a PhD. In my PhD program, I derived the concept of financial competency in nursing from other disciplines with the working definition “The intentional actions of a nurse that contribute to the financial sustainability of a healthcare organization (Hartmann, 2012)”. My research focus was in development of an evidence-based educational intervention regarding financial competency in nursing, and investigating if the intervention could impact knowledge and attitudes positively.

After 6 years of research, and the development of two instruments measuring knowledge and attitudes regarding financial responsibilities of nurses in healthcare, I am proud to say that there is a statistically significant increase in knowledge and a statistically significant improvement in attitudes regarding financial competency in nursing following participation in an educational intervention.

Earning my PhD provided opportunity disseminate my findings at conferences and elsewhere.  Publication is the next step. Ultimately, I’m passionate to see these findings validate the contributions of nurses, so that they are economically valued and nursing care becomes fee for service (rather than a part of room and board).  My journey continues.

My Final Advice: Find where passion and opportunity intersect in your journey

Savor those moments and take full advantage of them. Assist others in finding their own intersections. Cheer them on.

Scholarship recipients, the journey is yours. Make it a great one.  Congratulations.

©2018 Hartmann May be used with permission of author.

 

Our mission is to elevate the mental well-being of Lancaster County children.

Children like 16-year-old Alicia* whose suicidal thoughts and experimentation with cutting were unnoticed until a grant and physician training intervened with screening and referral.

Children like Joanna’s* infant son was born while she was incarcerated. Thanks to grants that provided a family advocate and an alternative foster care program, he was given the chance to bond with his mother and thrive in a safe and loving home until her release. Read more.

The strategy for greatest impact

LOHF facilitates children’s access to behavioral healthcare through grants to local programs; we provide scholarships, continuing education, and resources to healthcare providers. In 2017 alone, we invested more than half a million dollars into Lancaster County programs and providers to enhance the behavioral health of kids. We allocate as much of our endowment resources as possible to these programs, and the generosity of donors allows us to help even more children and families be well.

Here’s a snapshot of our success in this mission in our 2017 Annual Report.

Learn how you can participate in this mission.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

 

 

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