Healthcare providers can help patients with what they need, when they need it. That’s the basic concept behind Axis Health System’s “Heart of Axis” unique charitable giving campaign.

The Heart of Axis Committee is excited to announce that it’s time to give away the money raised through the 2020 Heart of Axis Annual Employee Giving Campaign. This fund provides Axis Health System (AHS) employees the opportunity to donate charitably and to direct these funds to support a wide range of unmet community and patient needs.

In December of 2018, the staff of Axis Health System (AHS) had different options for directing their holiday donations toward community causes. Along with the traditional United Way campaign, some staff chose donate to the new Heart of Axis fund. Funds were held and managed by the Onward! Foundation, based out of Montezuma County. AHS staff were encouraged to submit grant applications up to $1,000. A volunteer Heart of Axis grant committee reviewed applications and prioritized the use of available funds to address patients’ unique needs, including mental health, physical health and social determinants of health (access to basic necessities such as food, transportation and housing). The committee also selected projects submitted by community nonprofits. On Nov. 15, 2019, the committee awarded $3,000 to projects impacting patients and $10,000 to community agencies.

The recipients of the first annual Heart of Axis grants for patient projects are listed below:

Projects for Patients

  • Warm Hands to Warm Hand-off Project: $1,000 to purchase gloves printed with AHS clinic contact information. The gloves were distributed in early January 2020 by the Healthcare for the Homeless and Engagement Services Teams to individuals experiencing homelessness and other risk factors. The gloves are a much-needed item and will be a helpful reminder of how and where to access services.
  • Therapy Toys Project: $800 to purchase therapeutic games and interactive materials for use with children and families at the Columbine Behavioral Healthcare and Cortez Integrated Healthcare on behalf of the Child and Adolescent Therapy Team (CHAT). The toys support providers in their work to provide different types of fun, engaging materials that support evidence-based treatment with families.
  • Caring Contacts: $1,000 supports the Caring Contacts program through the AHS Zero Suicide Committee.  Caring Contacts are brief, personalized, inspirational notecards that are sent out to patients one at a time, for six months after a patient leaves the Acute Treatment Unit. The care team’s contact has been found to be effective in suicide prevention. AHS worked with regional artists to include local artwork on the front of the cards.
  • Bus Tokens Project: $200 to purchase bus tokens to support Columbine Behavioral Healthcare patients who need necessary transportation to attend health or other critical appointments, utilize support services from community partners, and access resources to meet their basic needs. Tokens were purchased Jan. 3 for La Plata County residents and will be distributed through AHS case managers.

Heart of Axis Community Grants:

  • Four Corners Child Advocacy Center: $2,000 support mental health assessments and therapeutic services for children and their families experiencing the trauma of child abuse, with no fee for services. FCCAC serves Montezuma and Dolores counties.
  • Grief Center of the Southwest: $2,000 will support the Montezuma and Dolores Children’s Grief Camp for bereavement therapy and risk intervention for bereaved children. In addition to providing safe places for children to process their grief with trained professional grief therapists, they offer children the opportunity to meet others who have also lost a loved one.
  • Hospice of Montezuma: $2,000 will fund a wide range of grief and caregiver support for families of Hospice patients and community members, free of charge. Hospice also provides individual support sessions, support groups for a range of topics and educational workshops.
  • Housing Solutions of the Southwest: $1,995 to assist individuals and families who are unable to find permanent housing because they are unable to obtain a State ID, pay rental application fees or transportation to meet with potential landlords and other housing resources.
  • Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center: $2,000 will fund community training in La Plata, Archuleta, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan counties to educate adults that provide direct services to community youth, medical professionals and school staff on how to best serve LGTBQ+ youth.

PHOTO: Former Axis Health System staff member Sarah Whittier shows bus tokens purchased at the Durango Transit Center on Jan. 3, 2020 as part of the Heart of Axis program. The tokens were given to patients who needed help with transportation to meet their healthcare needs.