Community service grants bedrock of support for communities in need

Community service grants are one way the Foundation strives to make a tangible, lasting impact on the lives of the patients we serve – they’re not just one-off projects with limited effects. But how do we really know that we’re making a difference?

For Dr. Roberta Kato, it’s when she gets to witness an “Aha!” moment – a time when everything clicks and a parent finally understands how to better care for their child. For Marina Lima, MD, MSc, it’s knowing that one more teen isn’t gasping for air. And for Dr. Joseph Huang, it’s seeing a country of 100 million people gain access to 14 pulmonologists when there was previously only one.

Whether it’s hosting family workshops in children’s museums across Los Angeles, developing a gaming app to help children in Brazil control their asthma symptoms, or establishing a pulmonary and critical care training program in Uganda, the Foundation community service grants all focus on the same goal: to enable our underserved patients gain access to the resources and care they need when they need it most.

Why community service grants?

The Foundation began giving community service grants in 1997 under the leadership of CHEST President D. Robert McCaffree, MD, Master FCCP. He believed the program would be the best way to support his colleagues in achieving their community service endeavors .To date, over $2 million has been given specifically to community service projects. “

Our physicians experience the limitations of our health care system first-hand – a system that isn’t built to assist the people who need help the most. Finding solutions requires a willingness to think and operate creatively. The funding the Foundation provides through our community service grants supplies the resources to do just that – implement real-world solutions that will help patients gain better access to care.

Cases in point

Marina Lima, MD, MSc, was seeing an inordinate number of children and teens with uncontrolled asthma symptoms in Brazil. She applied for and was awarded a grant to make Asthmaland, the first gamified pediatric asthma educational program in Portuguese.

Besides her “Aha!” moments, Dr. Roberta Kato revealed a way she knows her work is making a difference: the funding is helping to shift the nonprofit landscape in her community.

“Sometimes there is a rift between different organizations. When I ask them to collaborate or advertise together, I get resistance. However, when I’ve reached out and said that I’ve received funding for an initiative, all of a sudden, there is forward movement. That is how I am hoping to make the biggest difference,” explained Dr. Kato.

Dr. Joseph Huang, who received a grant to fund the East Africa Training Initiative (EATI), is faced with a different obstacle. “We’ve been awarded the grant many times, and I know the Foundation is focused on supporting new, up-and-coming programs. Therefore, I’m committed to ensuring that my program can continue even after we stop receiving funding.”

How is Dr. Huang going to do that? Besides procuring ICU equipment, EATI focuses on training pulmonology fellows in east Africa. The fellows who graduate will train other physicians and care team members across the continent, both in hospitals and rural clinics, safeguarding the future of his program.

A clear vision for the future

While the Foundation is ready to tackle new problems, community service grants will remain the constant thread woven throughout the work, and it’s obvious why. As Dr. Huang emphasized, his grant “will ensure that the people living in Africa have a better chance at getting access to the care they need.”

When you strip away everything else, community service grants boil down to one thing: helping people live healthier, more fulfilled lives. What can be more worthwhile?

Help us continue this important work

While we are privileged to award numerous grants over the past 2 decades, our community service grants have always held a special place in the hearts and minds of everyone involved with the CHEST Foundation. We hope they hold a special place in your heart too.

Please consider donating so that we can continue this work together.

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