March 16, 2010

Sisters of Charity Health System Promotes 2010 Census

The Sisters of Charity Health System (SCHS) is an official partner of the U.S. Census Bureau this year; the healthcare system’s primary objective is to promote participation in the census to low income Northeast Ohioans to ensure the group is accurately represented in the upcoming 2010 census.

The Sisters of Charity Health System is spreading the word about the importance of the census and availability of questionnaires amongst its employees, patients and the communities it serves.

Census data is not only used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives amongst states, it directly affects how the more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education, transportation and more.

“Historically, the lower income populations we serve are undercounted,” says Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, president and CEO, Sisters of Charity Health System. “These individuals are either working several jobs and never home, have moved around a lot and been unable to establish a permanent residence, or are homeless. An inaccurate number by the census means less funding and fewer resources allocated to this group and the communities in which they live.”

She continues, “As the availability of federal money shrinks and the needs of our most vulnerable populations continue to escalate, it’s more important than ever to ensure that everyone, all incomes, is counted.”
Mercy Medical Center in Canton and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, will serve as official Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC). Each will provide a workroom for census employees to assist patients and the general public in completing the questionnaire.

“It’s important to get the message out especially to our marginalized populations and to our communities at large so that everyone has the opportunity to be included,” says Lena Grafton, director, community outreach, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “That’s the only way everyone can accurately be represented to receive the critical health, education and human services they need.”

To promote St. Vincent Charity’s partnership with the Census Bureau and to identify it as a an official QAC site, a banner hangs on a walkway across E. 22nd Street. From March 19 thru April 19, census workers will be on hand in the hospital’s emergency department with a variety of times and dates specifically designed to accommodate the various needs of the community. For a schedule of these dates and times, please visit stvincentcharity.com.

Beginning on March 22 until April 16, Mercy Medical Center will provide questionnaire assistance from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Afternoon sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm. Mercy will also have extra copies of the census questionnaire available in its lobbies. Interpreters will also be available to assist patients and the general public who do not speak English.

SCHS and Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland collaborated with the Cleveland Foundation to fund community organizing and outreach activities in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood; the foundation distributed census literature and promotional items at community meetings.  Additionally, Robin Bachman, assistant vice president, SCHS government affairs and public policy, serves on the Governor’s Ohio Complete Count Committee’s Subcommittee of Non-Governmental Organizations, Community and Faith-based Organizations.

St. John Medical Center in Westlake hosted census employees to provide questionnaire assistance to the hospital’s staff and visitors in early March.

Census questionnaires will be mailed or delivered to every household in the United States March 15 – 17.

census banner

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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