Columbus, OH,
15:51 PM

Columbus Business First: Health Experts Prescribe Safe, Affordable Housing

The numbers don't lie. Franklin County’s overall infant mortality rate has barely changed in 15 years, likely due to factors that include poor prenatal care, nutrition, lead contamination and chronic stress. A recent story in Columbus Business First pointed out that all of these contributing risks can be traced back to unsafe and unstable housing.

Cynthia Ward, social worker for OhioHealth, told reporter Carrie Ghose that if she could have one thing to improve her patients’ health it would be housing. She said her patients need safer neighborhoods and access to better education, healthy food, transportation and jobs. About 60 percent of health issues Ward sees stem from where people live. 

“I have to deal with so many slumlords,” Ward told Ghose. “If I could get the housing, I can deal with the rest of my wish list.”

The risk for infant mortality triples from only one night in a homeless shelter during pregnancy.

“We have to figure out how to get upstream, to figure out how to make sure women don’t spend any nights in shelters,” Shannon Ginther, OhioHealth senior director of community health partnerships, told Ghose. “There’s a lot that we know; we just have to figure out how to put the pieces in place in communities.”

Lack of access to transportation is creating more of an issue in certain areas.

“We have to bring the health care to them,” Ginther said.

The OhioHealth Wellness on Wheels, does just that. Essentially a doctor’s office on wheels, the mobile clinic goes to eight sites every week for primary care and prenatal visits.

To read Ghose’s full article, which includes the story of a new patient’s experience with Wellness on Wheels, click on the Business First logo below.

For more information about Wellness on Wheels, please click here.