New Funding Paves the Way to Address Healthcare Barriers Affecting Utah Communities

February 19, 2019

In January 2019, the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) received funding from Cambia Health Foundation to enhance the way Utahns experience healthcare. Through this support, AUCH will continue its community-based work to identify and address social determinates of health (SDOH), while advancing patient engagement and improving health equity.

“If we apply what we know about SDOH, we can not only improve individual and population health, but advance health equity,” said Steven Lesky, Program Officer at Cambia Health Foundation.

With health disparities plaguing Utah communities, this grant will focus on providing solutions to the racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic barriers that lead to poor health outcomes. Community-based interventions, such as AUCH’s Community Health Worker (CHW) program, are designed to increase patient knowledge, ability, and willingness to engage in the self-management of their health and provide innovative solutions to these barriers.

CHWs are trusted members from the communities in which they live—trained to implement proven, evidence-based interventions focused on motivational interviewing, health education and coaching, and translation services. CHW’s are trusted members from the communities in which they live, dedicating their time to improve health outcomes. Building on this model, AUCH is integrating CHWs into underserved neighborhoods across Utah to bridge prevention-focused healthcare services with access to social and economic services. This model shifts healthcare from single disease paradigms to community-based health interventions that not only address socioeconomic and behavioral barriers, but also engage clients to live their healthiest lives.

“CHWs provide opportunities to assess and prioritize needs for clients, assist with goal-setting, and extend the services of the clinic beyond the clinic walls,” said Alan Pruhs, Executive Director of AUCH. “CHWs are successful connecting clients with services and bridging gaps in the system because of trusting relationships they develop with their clients.

Through these interventions, CHWs will support and engage clients, empowering them to be active participants in the improvement of their health. Whether you are a patient, provider, or social worker—CHWs are coming to a neighborhood near you.

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About Association for Utah Community Health

AUCH is a membership organization comprised of Utah’s Health Center organizations and allied safety-net clinics. 13 Utah Health Centers operate 58 clinics in urban and rural communities and provide care to more than 158,000 people annually. Health Centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare services including medical, vision, and pharmaceutical. In addition, they offer supportive services that provide education and promote access to healthcare, such as health insurance enrollment assistance. For more information about AUCH, please visit

About Cambia Health Foundation

Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate Foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to using human-centered design to transform the way people experience health care. Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation awards grants in three program areas: Sojourns (Palliative Care Quality, Access and Awareness), Transforming Health Care and Children’s Behavioral Health. The Foundation has funded $58 million in grants to support these causes. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in Sojourns advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life for people with serious illness by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Learn more at, and follow us on Twitter: @CambiaHealthFdn.