March 2022 Newsletter
  • Training medical interpreters - scholarships available
  • YMCA Youth Advocacy Initiative helps vulnerable youth lead healthy lives
  • Meet the Board: Dr. Lora Overton
  • Collaboration brings resources to 24 local nonprofits
  • St. Joe Board and Staff advocate for improvements to Indiana public health system
  • Community Health Resource Directories
- Assuring quality care for immigrants and refugees -
Foundation focus:
Training Medical Interpreters - Scholarships Available
Trained medical interpreters do more than overcome language barriers; they save lives. Trained interpreters ensure that doctors accurately and thoroughly diagnose and treat their patients and that patients understand their doctors to make informed decisions about their health.

The St. Joe Foundation will offer scholarships to an online, accredited 80-Hour Medical Interpretation Course this spring. Medical Communication Ambassadors' course is taught over 16 weeks beginning the week of April 25 with weekly mandatory 2-hour face-to-face sessions online. The course is open to anyone in the community. Scholarships may be available to those who are employed by or volunteer with St. Joe Foundation grantees or community partners. Scholarships cover the enrollment fees of $1,000, including all training materials, textbook and workbook, and language proficiency exam. This course is limited to English-Spanish speakers. The application deadline is April 18, 2022

Additional interpreter training opportunities are being researched for other languages.

- Advocating for the most vulnerable -
Grantee spotlight:
YMCA Youth Advocacy Initiative helps vulnerable youth lead healthy lives
The YMCA’s Youth Services Bureau (YSB) has been serving at-risk youth for decades, but it continues to grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of local youth.

For example, the YSB’s Youth Advocacy Initiative, supported in part by the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, has recently hired a new advocate to help reach more youth and has also added a new parenting support group.

The Advocacy Initiative connects youth in crisis with one-on-one and group mentoring. The staff, called youth advocates, personalize action plans for each participant, working to connect them to the health and wellness services they need, as well as tracking school progress and helping with career exploration.

Senior Program Director James McFadden says...

- Continuing a history of compassion and excellence -
Foundation focus:
Meet the Board: Lora Overton, M.D.
Q: What inspires you about the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and their Foundress Saint Katharina? Are there particular values or works that you find especially important?

The Sisters/Board are always thinking about the least of us. The poor, the disenfranchised, the orphan, the widow, the poor in spirit (depressed and mentally ill) and how to serve them with the compassion of Christ. I have a heart for women and children, which is why the Poor Handmaids/Saint Katharina speak to me.

- Leveraging collaboration with community partners -
Partner spotlight:
Collaboration brings resources to 24 local nonprofits
Great collaboration benefits everyone. The St. Joe Foundation just wrapped up a collaborative effort with the PHP Foundation to support 24 nonprofit organizations with more than $500,000 in funding.

The PHP Foundation is dedicated to building healthier communities by addressing the health and wellness needs of low-income, high-risk individuals in the northeast Indiana neighborhoods they serve. Twenty-four local nonprofits working in those PHP neighborhoods just benefitted as the PHP Foundation announced $529,000 in grants to them.

St. Joe Foundation collaborated with the PHP Foundation for the sixth year, providing technical support in processing and reviewing the grants per the vision of the PHP Foundation Board. According to Meg Distler, executive director at St. Joe Foundation, “We appreciate the opportunity to work with PHP, which has both strong integrity and a deep commitment to strengthen healthcare clinics and healthcare in this region.”

The PHP Foundation is supported by PHP - Physicians Health Plan, Indiana’s only nonprofit insurance company. Through the PHP Foundation, more than a million lives have been touched with improved access to medical and dental education, treatment, medications, and more. The funded services most often reach low-income, disadvantaged, medically and emotionally challenged individuals.
- Advocating for the most vulnerable -
Foundation focus:
St. Joe Board and staff advocate for improvements to Indiana public health system
St. Joe Board and staff members recently advocated for ways to strengthen the public health system during a meeting of the Governor’s Public Health Commission in Huntington.

The Commission was established last summer by Governor Eric Holcomb and is charged with studying Indiana’s public health system and recommending ways to improve the delivery of public health services and promote equity. The executive order creating the commission notes that Indiana ranks 41st nationwide for public health measures, mostly due to the state’s low life expectancy rate and high health care costs. 

The commission is conducting a listening tour across the state and will issue a final report before the end of 2022. 

In comments submitted to the commission, St. Joe Foundation Executive Director Meg Distler praised the work of the local Allen County Department of Health but noted that...

- Connecting everyone in the community to critical health resources -
Community resource:
Free Community Health
Resource Directories now available
The latest edition of the Community Health Resource Directory is now available for free to the general public and organizations that serve low-income and vulnerable residents.

Free, printed copies of the directory are available for pick up by filling out the request form at A pdf copy of the directory is also available on that same web page.

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation updates and prints the directory every other year. It lists more than 100 free or low-cost healthcare services located in Allen County. Services are listed in twelve categories that include medical, dental, mental health, immunization, transportation, health screenings and more. Each service listed includes information such as: days and hours of operation, what payment forms are accepted, if a photo identification is needed, whether it is located on a bus line and if interpreters are available.

 A ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.