by Anna Kennedy, LOHF Executive Director


I joined 10 colleagues from Lancaster organizations last week to learn how to apply racial justice in our work. For me, this was helpful to explore how racism can discourage children and families’ mental health, and how racial justice can improve it.


YWCA Lancaster and the Lancaster Theological Seminary hosted the racial justice training. The 3-day workshop was a follow-up to one I attended last summer. We asked ourselves hard questions. We developed specific strategies to help our organizations become multicultural communities. Trainers jona olsson and Sandra Ewell from Cultural Bridges to Justice guided us. They challenged me to consider ways LOHF can become a more nurturing, welcoming, and supportive organization to people of color in Lancaster County.

This year, LOHF is working with Tony Hernandez from Reflective Wisdom to help us understand pathways to inclusion in our personal and professional lives. My hope is that we can approach LOHF’s mission with this lens of inclusion and racial justice. So, how does the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion relate to children’s mental health?

Social Determinants of Health

First, the social determinants of health model illustrates how various health-influencing factors are embedded within broader aspects of society. For example, my individual health is also determined by my access to a healthy work environment, healthy food, good housing, and education.

Allostatic Load

In addition, a connection between discrimination and children’s mental health is the concept of allostatic load. Allostatis describes the adaptive process that our bodies go through to reduce stress, especially after repeated or toxic stress, or an acute level of stress (from events such as the sudden death of a loved one or a destructive hurricane). The allostatic load causes repeated wear and tear on the body, and can be caused by all types of discrimination, including racism. I think of it as a cup under a faucet where the faucet is dripping. The drops of water are the stress, the cup is our body; eventually, the cup will overflow.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Finally, racial justice is connected to children’s mental health through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Ten categories of ACEs can be determined through a 10-question survey. These include physical abuse and neglect, parental incarceration, parental mental illness and/or substance use disorder, and divorce. Childhood experiences are foundational and have a tremendous impact on lifelong physical and behavioral health. Some ACEs have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and even early death. Although the ACEs questions don’t specifically ask about race or ethnicity, studies since have shown how racial disparities and childhood adversity are linked.

The social determinants of health, allostatic load, and ACEs provide insight to how racial justice and becoming a multicultural organization helps families achieve mental well-being. We can remove barriers to healthcare access and reduce stress by creating a more welcoming and supportive community.

Join Us in Building Racial Justice in Lancaster County

To experience the Racial Justice Institute for yourself or your organization, consider attending the next trainings in Lancaster, held at Lancaster Theological Seminary:

  • June 11-13: Racial Justice Institute – Part 1: Foundational Workshop
  • July 18-20: Racial Justice Institute – Part 2: Applied Skills Workshop
  • December 5-7: Racial Justice Institute – Part 1: Foundational Workshop
  • Early 2019 (TBD): Racial Justice Institute – Part 2: Applied Skills Workshop
  • Summer 2019 (TBD): Train the Trainer Workshop

To learn more, contact Lisa Cameron at the YWCA Lancaster or visit:

Now Accepting Nurse Scholarship Applications
Each year nursing scholarships are awarded to deserving students beginning their nursing education as well as students who are advancing their nursing careers. The LOHF nursing scholarship program supports nurses pursuing their LPN, RN, BSN, MSN, and advanced degrees. Our awards are based on financial need, passion for the nursing profession, and a proven ability to work hard. Applications must be completed online by May 15.
For more details and a link to our application, visit our scholarships page.

LOHF is governed by an all-volunteer board and committees. We could not accomplish the mission of improving children’s behavioral health without their diverse perspective, expertise, and passion.


We extend a heartfelt thank you to LOHF board members who completed their terms in December. LOHF is stronger thanks to the leadership of our outgoing board chair, Shawn Barron (Director of Marketing & Communications at RETTEW Associates, Inc.) We are equally appreciative of the insightful contributions and long-time dedication to LOHF of Dr. Alice Baumgart (Professor Emeritus, Queens University in Kingston Ontario). We would not be where we are without the professional expertise and personal commitment of Chris Ginder (Investment manager at Sageworth), and Dr. Scott Silverstein (Pulmonologist at WellSpan Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine).

This month, several board members have transitioned to new roles as officers.  These are: John Walker, Chair; Adam Biuckians, MD, Vice Chair; Charles Rieck, JD, Secretary. We look forward to their leadership as we move forward in our vision for every Lancaster County child to have access to quality behavioral healthcare.

Welcome new board members!

In addition, the following new board members bring their talents to the table this month: Carli Youndt (school nurse at Warwick and adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite University); Bob Miller (Director of Global Financial Services at Armstrong Flooring Inc.); Dr. Anita Darpino (partner physician at Schaefferstown Family Practice); Connell O’Brien (Policy Director for Integrated Health Care at RCPA).

Learn more about our current board and staff at We are so thankful for the dedication and passion of all of our board and committee volunteers!

– New York Times journalist and author David Bornstein

The Junior League of LancasterLancaster Education Foundation, and LOHF invite you to a Film Screening of “Paper Tigers”.

Tuesday, January 30
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

At Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine Suburban Pavillion
2100 Harrisburg Pike
Third Floor Conference Room

All are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

Space is limited. Please reply to to RSVP or ask questions.

We hope you can join us for this impactful film!


When children and teens struggle with depression, anxiety, and stress, their whole family is affected. Yet, as many as 80% of kids with behavioral health needs don’t get the help they deserve.  LOHF donors share our mission to change this in Lancaster County.

We provide a safety net of support for families by strengthening and connecting successful programs and care providers. Our strategic support includes: a grants program, training for doctors and therapists, copay assistance, nursing scholarships, and NavWell—a revolutionary system to help doctors, therapists, families, and schools collaborate for children’s wellbeing.

Join us in this mission TODAY—during The ExtraOrdinary Give—with a gift on our leaderboard page at

Your help will be multiplied by the ExtraGive stretch pool during Lancaster County’s largest day of giving, which ends at midnight tonight. Thank you!

Thanks to our donors, LOHF is announces recipients of Fall 2017 community grants.

LOHF this week approved funding to five Lancaster County community benefit organizations for children’s behavioral health programs.

  • CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health: $15,000 for “The Patchwork Quilt- A family-focused approach to children’s behavioral health and psychiatric care” to support 600 children and 1,200 family members with counseling and therapy.
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County: $13,000 for “Minimizing trauma for children of justice-involved parents through a trauma-informed justice system” to train 288 community members (primarily police, probation and parole officers) with the RMO to safeguard children of arrested parents.
  • Compass Mark: $10,000 for “Family Services Advocate, supporting the unique needs of children with incarcerated parents” to support 100 children, 150 family members and 150 community members with coordinated care and case management.
  • Samaritan Counseling Center: $15,000 for “TeenHope” to help 2,250 children, 6,750 family members, and 50 community members with depression and anxiety screenings in schools and follow up to access mental health services.
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County: $14,500 for “Linking positive and proactive social/emotional wellbeing strategies from school to home” to support 130 children, 105 family members and 28 community members with high quality, affordable childcare for children ages birth to 3 years old and their families in Head Start with positive behavior interventions and supports.

“We are very excited and humbled by this opportunity,” said Melanie Snyder, Director of the RMO at Community Action Partnership. “And we’re so grateful for the support of LOHF to help us carry out this important initiative to minimize trauma to the children of justice-involved parents in our community.”

“Our Family Services Advocate program continues to expand, thanks in part to LOHF and other important community partners,” said Eric Kennel, Executive Director of Compass Mark.

LOHF partners with Lancaster County community benefit organizations through its grants program, investing in work that impacts these areas:

  • Care Coordination: Improve the delivery of children’s behavioral healthcare services.
    • Increase access to mental/behavioral health services
    • Seamless transition of services for young adults
    • Coordinate resources to support families in navigating and accessing care
  • Parent/Caregiver Education: Enhance the capacity of parents, families, and caregivers through training and support.
    • Increase competency in addressing children’s mental/behavioral needs
    • Increase understanding and confidence in parents using strength-based techniques
    • Decrease need for care coordination
  • Access to Providers: Improve capacity of providers to support and treat children.
    • Reduce wait times for behavioral healthcare
    • Increase number of children who have and utilize health insurance
    • Encourage well-child visits and preventative care
    • Expand number and frequency of behavioral/mental health screenings in primary care

More Funds Available in 2018

An additional $100,000 in grant funds will be available for the 2018 Children’s Behavioral Health Grant program, focused on improving children’s behavioral health in Lancaster County. Online applications are now available, and due March 1, 2018. To learn more, please visit

We encourage you to please contact the staff at LOHF to discuss any questions about your program before you apply. We will be glad to assist you in the process.

About the LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grant Program

LOHF asks applicants select at least one outcome from our logic model list and describe how the program will achieve that outcome. We ask applicants to describe the resources and inputs, activities, and outputs that your program will accomplish to achieve the intended result.

We support programs that are evidence-based, proven to work with some best practice, and seek to take these programs to scale, expand what works, and encourage applicants to replicate existing models from outside Lancaster County and within. We encourage applicants to work collaboratively with partners to learn more about improving services for children and families to achieve mental well-being.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact LOHF staff to discuss the grant program before submitting an application.

LOHF targets support towards evidence-based programs that advance mental wellness of children and youth in Lancaster County. Our Community Grant Program is a specific funding area that represents 26% of our annual program budget ($100,000 total funds available annually) with the goal of providing more funds each year through fundraising efforts. Tax exempt community benefit organizations serving Lancaster County are eligible to apply.

Guest Post by Jeimary Ramos Malave, RN and LOHF Scholarship Recipient

This month I assisted in my first delivery of a refugee patient’s baby at Women & Babies Hospital. My Spanish-speaking patient arrived in the U.S. just 8 months ago. We connected well as soon as I walked into the room because of our shared language and culture. I was able to help her through labor. She had a beautiful delivery and was so thankful that I was able to help her and her husband.

For 7 years, I had waited for this exact moment—to be able to connect with a patient and provide quality care through the barriers she was faced. I was grateful that I was able to give this family a positive birth experience. I felt empowered that I was able to take care of her to that capacity. I left the room thinking of all of the years it took me to achieve the goal of becoming a registered nurse.

As a nurse, I get to meet strangers and help them welcome their babies into the world during one of their happiest times. I get to assist the young mom who is afraid to give birth and the mom who has dealt with infertility. Some days are filled with joy and other days are filled with grief and sadness. As an RN, I am able to care for others and teach patients about their bodies and how they work.

Detoured and disappointed

I faced many obstacles and detours in my journey to nursing, but I was determined. In 2010, I graduated high school and attended Bloomsburg University. I felt I could conquer the world.  I got a job to help with books and living expenses while trying to excel in rigorous science courses.  After 2 years, I had taken all of my pre-requisites for the nursing program but was denied acceptance. I was also pregnant with my first daughter.

I was faced with a decision: drop out, change majors, or go back home and raise my daughter. I tried to imagine my life choosing another major other than nursing but nothing had an impact on me. I decided to go home. Now, I was a young mom with no college degree barely making ends meet, but I didn’t give up. I transferred my credits to the LPN program at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center. I told myself that if I could excel in this program with a small child, then surely I would be able to continue on to become an RN.

As an LPN, my detour helped others

I passed my boards and started my first job at SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, initially doing prenatal phone nursing. After 6 months, I was offered the position of Women’s Health LPN, responsible for following up with abnormal cervical cancer screenings and making sure that women were attending their follow up appointments. I was also responsible for coordinating a women’s group to teach refugee women over 50 about mammograms and pap smears. Eventually, I became Lead LPN of the Women’s Health Department, using my nursing skills to help train medical assistants and other LPNs in prenatal care. I also helped rewrite policies for the Women’s Health Department and help it department take on the Title 10 fund to help patients to access birth control.

From defeated to determined, thanks to LOHF scholarship

But even after 3 ½ successful and fulfilling years at SELHS, I longed to become an RN. I applied to PA College of Health Sciences after being at SELHS for a year. But I got nervous when an advisor told me that the program was too rigorous for me to handle while parenting a 6-month-old, and that the chances I would be accepted would be slim to none. I withdrew my application, feeling defeated again.

A year later, I still couldn’t shake the desire to finish what I started at Bloomsburg University, so I reapplied to the LPN- RN bridge program. I was offered conditional acceptance!

There were still going to be challenges, especially a financial one. I applied for a scholarship from LOHF, and they awarded me the opportunity to fulfill my dream! The LOHF scholarship was the final push I needed to make my journey to become an RN possible.

In May of this year (2017), I graduated with an Associate degree, a 3.2 GPA, and promotion to the BSN program! I have also moved on from SELHS to become a labor and delivery nurse at LGH/Penn Medicine Women & Babies Hospital.

Nursing is a reward worth the challenge

My advice to others who dream of becoming a nurse, is that you must be passionate about it. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality, whether it’s retaking a science course to boost your GPA, or waiting another year to start a program.  I was faced with a lot of hurdles in my journey. I had to look at the big picture and make sure the decisions I was making would have a positive impact on my children. And there were many days when I wanted to give up and be complacent with my life.

As nurses, we hold the lives of many people in our hands, and it is the humanness of our patients that bring us to work every single day. We are able to meet our patients where they are in their vulnerability during their happiest and saddest times. We are able to build trust, educate, and empower our patients and leave them better than they were.

If you are on a journey to nursing, think of what nursing means to you and what you can offer the community through it. This kind of impact is why LOHF supports nursing in Lancaster County through scholarships like mine.

Mental Health Copay Assistance is a program of LOHF that provides copay assistance for the behavioral healthcare needs of those who cannot afford it.

Formerly known as PALCO (Project Access Lancaster County), it transitioned in July 2017 from being an independent nonprofit to a program of LOHF.  PALCO was founded in 2007 with the mission to improve the healthcare of Lancaster County residents by increasing access to quality healthcare providers. From 2007-2015, volunteer PALCO healthcare providers contributed a staggering $47.8 million of donated medical care. In April 2015, PALCO ended its volunteer program of donated medical service for the uninsured (largely due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania to provide medical insurance) and transitioned to become a copay program.

Collaborative Community Partnership

Since 2015, PALCO has participated as a grant recipient in the application with Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine to the United Way of Lancaster County for “Let’s Talk, Lancaster: Changing the conversation about mental health.”

This collaborative partnership has funded this key program for those in our community who need mental health care, but cannot afford copays and premiums. LOHF is now the recipient of this grant in a collaboration of resources and experience to continue this vital program and reach more people in need.

“Because the co-pay and premium assistance program PALCO was previously managing aligns so naturally with the LOHF mission of improving behavioral health services, it was only fitting we take this over,” said LOHF Board Chair, Shawn Barron. “So many people in need rely on this program to help them make ends meet; it would be detrimental not to continue this.”

How to Apply

Contact Lisa Riffanacht at (717) 392-1595 or for more information or to have an application mailed to you. You may also download it at

The Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation (LOHF) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2017 Nurse Education Scholarship. The purpose of the Nurse Education Scholarship Program is to strengthen the capacity of healthcare professionals in Lancaster County by supporting nursing students.

This year, LOHF invested $63,000 in the education of 22 local nursing students; this includes 19 new scholarship recipients and 3 previous recipients who are continuing in a second or third year of their degree program. Since 2003, LOHF has invested over $817,250 in the education of 355 nurses who can be found caring for our family members, friends and neighbors.

“We are thrilled to be able to assist healthcare providers with critical access to financial and educational resources including grants, scholarships, information and training. Our Nurse Education Scholarship supports students at leading medical facilities, universities and colleges in Lancaster County and the surrounding region,” explains Anna Brendle Kennedy, LOHF Executive Director. LOHF nurse education scholarships support nurses in Licensed Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as well as advanced degrees and certificate programs such as Certified School Nurse or Family Nurse Practitioner.

Recipients of the 2017 Nurse Education Scholarship

LPN Scholar:

Natasha Parker, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

RN Scholars:

David Kinungi Kinuthia, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Katharine Elizabeth Noon Miller, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Bethaney Jean Shefton, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Starell Zoric, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Jacqueline M. Keener, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Sheila Champaign, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Emily Enid Cruz, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Kami L Dugan*, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Robyn Gill, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Alice Vivian Wheeler, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

RN to BSN Scholars:

Malinda Heisey*, Eastern Mennonite University

Brianna Shenk, Eastern Mennonite University

Danielle Lynn Sweigart, Millersville University

Leah Kossove, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Abrielle Minnich, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

MSN Scholars:

Leonie Mbiekop*, Millersville University

Lori Lynn Eichman, Millersville University

Beth Ann Russell, Walden University

Continuing Scholars

These nurse scholars continue to receive funding support as they pursue their degrees in nursing.

Awarded in 2016:

Heather Fickes, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Laura Noll, Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Hannah Good, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Alexa Hellein, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

*denotes a scholarship recipient who was previously supported by LOHF for their prior degree program


A 2017 Nurse Education Scholarship Reception is planned for September 20, 2017, 5:30 p.m. at Rock Ford Plantation, Lancaster PA. Light refreshments will be served. Guests are welcome. RSVP at or call (717) 397-8722.


Thank you community partners, donors, and volunteers. Let’s celebrate success highlights from the children’s behavioral health grant reports that just came in! These grants are achieving amazing outcomes!


COBYS Family Services, Incredible Years Parent intervention program served 14 family members and 8 children at Brecht Elementary school. One parent said, “I love that we are not judgmental. We are using the skills we are learning.”

Samaritan Counseling Center, Teen Hope program served 7,400 family members, 1,897 children, and 140 community members. “We are actually getting teens at-risk for depression, anxiety and/or suicide to have an immediate conversation with a mental health professional. And the parents of at-risk students are having conversations with mental professionals about their child.”

Lancaster Public Library, Autism Resource Center served 2,700 family members, 1,700 children, and 1,500 community members. “Those who participated in the story times, who borrowed and continue to borrow the materials, and use the space–have been very appreciative and speak highly of the resource.” (See photo above.)

At CASA of Lancaster County, a Children’s Behavioral Health Coordinator is working alongside Lancaster County Children & Youth.

At Family First Health, Integrated Behavioral Health using Collaborative Care, 17 patients ages 13-26 received on-site behavioral health services. They presented with depression, anxiety, financial stress, parenting stress, relationship issues and difficulty maintaining employment. Many also have substance use issues.

United Way of Lancaster County, 2-1-1, a Resource Collection and Maintenance project with NavWell, added Lancaster County private behavioral health providers to 2-1-1.

WellSpan Philhaven, is training primary care professionals and pediatricians to use depression screening.

Thank you for helping us improve public health and well-being for children and families in Lancaster County!



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