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Here’s to Health

Witham Health Services Foundation Welcomes New Coordinator

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Amy Payne

For as long as she can remember, Cari Ann Clanton has had a passion for providing care for those she serves. At the start of her career, that meant catering to furry, four-legged friends as she was a veterinary technician by trade. While working in the veterinary field, however, she became interested in business and found a new passion for marketing.

Witham Health Services Foundation

In 2016 she began working as an assistant to the marketing and foundation directors at Witham Health Services (WHS), which has been in existence for more than a century. Throughout the past 105 years, it has grown to include eight satellite locations in Boone and surrounding counties. In 1983 the Witham Health Services Foundation was created to support Witham in achieving its goals through fund development, ambassadorship and education.

In 2017 Clanton received a certificate in fundraising management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Through the past five years, Clanton has worn a number of different hats while working at WHS. In October of 2021 she was promoted to coordinator for the foundation.

“I fell in love with all of our donors as well as the foundation’s mission to support Witham Health Services in improving health through excellence and personalized care,” Clanton says. “I love how we give back to the community.”

The foundation does this in a number of ways. For example, it gives $12,000 per year in scholarships, as well as up to $40,000 in education loans to support students who are furthering their education in the medical field. It also supports hospital programs, and has provided funds for the establishment and continuation of certain programs and technologies.

Through the course of two fundraising campaigns, the foundation has raised more than $180,000 for a mental health program for the emergency department. This program, with the help of Integrative Wellness, provides immediate support to patients who enter the emergency room and are experiencing a mental health crisis. This year alone, 137 patients with mental health issues received support, 35% of whom were under the age of 18. These mental health disorders may include depression, anxiety, drug addiction or suicidal ideation, among others.

Witham Health Services Foundation

“It’s really important that those patients receive support the minute they walk into the hospital,” Clanton says.

With the help of this program, a licensed therapist immediately comes in and meets with the patient. This is not only a vital resource for the patient in crisis, but it also frees up the nursing staff, which would otherwise need to stay with these patients at all times.

The foundation has also supported the hospital with funding for a state-of-the-art simulation training center. Plus, they helped establish the Reach Out and Read program through the pediatric department. Additional support includes establishing a medical transport program, purchasing a 4D mammography machine, and buying two new ventilators in the early stages of the pandemic.

The hospital tagline is simple: “Small hospital, big medicine.”

“There is such a need to provide that big medicine through expanded services and technologies, and therefore there is a need for fund development,” Clanton says.

The Witham Health Services Foundation hosts two major annual fundraisers – the Black Tie Gala in May, and the Golf Classic in August. They also sprinkle in some smaller, fun events throughout the year. Members donate through yearly contributions and a planned giving program, and families can make memorial donations and tributes for patients.

“As a friend of the Witham Health Services Foundation, people have the opportunity to touch the lives of generations to come as we build these programs and expand on Witham services and technologies,” Clanton says.

Witham Health Services Foundation

The pandemic has put a major strain on health-care employees, particularly with regard to staff burnout. The foundation has tried to help boost employee morale in different ways. For instance, during the height of the pandemic, they accepted and distributed food donations that poured in from community members. They also provided employees with Kroger gift cards to help with meals through last year’s holidays.

“We are with them in the fight, we support them, and are so thankful for those frontline employees,” Clanton says.

Every three years the hospital conducts a community health needs assessment in order to find out what is most important to patients when it comes to their health-care needs. The hospital is currently conducting an assessment that will be completed during the first quarter of 2022.

“The programs we have implemented are a direct result of those surveys, so once we get the results of the next one back, we will have an idea of what our next area of focus needs to be,” Clanton says.

The Witham Health Services Foundation office is located at 2705 North Lebanon Street, Suite 115 in Lebanon. For more info, call 765-485-8112 or visit witham.org/foundation.

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