(File photo by Arielle Berger)
Ohio recently bolstered the medical stability of children growing up in the state’s southeastern Appalachian counties by giving $500,000 to an Athens-based nonprofit organization, according to a press release sent out by Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Friday.
The Ohio Legislative Service Commission gave Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children the half million dollars from the state budget for the 2016 fiscal year to further the development of children and mothers throughout a nine county service area, including Athens County.
IPAC is made up of multiple agencies throughout Southeast Ohio and works with several departments and clinics at OU. According to a previous release, along with OU’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the nonprofit has worked with OU’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, Scripps College of Communication and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
The medical school will join the Athens Photographic Project to create a research community for mental health patients.
“We are really thrilled to be recognized as an organization that can be trusted to work on behalf of children and families in our region,” Jane Hamel-Lambert, an associate professor of family medicine at OU’s HCOM and longtime IPAC contributor, said in the news release.
Ohio State Senator Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, advocated and celebrated the measure that he said might provide the resources to lower the “statewide crisis” of infant mortality.
“This funding will go a long way in improving both health outcomes and the quality of life for area residents, as well as continuing the fight against infant mortality,” he said in the release.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, Athens County saw an average of 16 infant deaths per year from 2006 to 2010.
Since 2002, IPAC has worked to improve pediatric screenings, integrating behavioral health in primary care and public preschools and furthering several other programs pertaining to the wellbeing of maternal and child health.
In 2006, it gained a non-profit status.