A local public health student is teaming up with Memorial Hospital to increase accessibility to community resources

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Do you struggle with the search for a helpful community resources? A local grad student is working to make it easier for residents to connect with local organizations in the South Bend community.

Katie Penland-Ernsberger is a public health candidate at Baylor University and South Bend resident. She is partnering with the risk management department at memorial hospital to increase accessibility of community resources for residents of St. Joseph county.

According to Beacon Health’s community health needs assessment, most St. Joseph county residents were not knowledgeable of local organizations that help improve their overall health. Penland-Ernsberger thought to bridge this divide while working with risk management at Memorial Hospital.

The report also found that 76% of respondents in St. Joseph county indicated that the hospital emergency room is where the majority of those who are uninsured or underinsured go to seek immediate care. Because of these findings, she plans on leaving flyers with the QR code in ER waiting rooms. She created a QR code that can connect you to a spreadsheet of local organizations organized by individual need, like women’s services and affordable housing.

“I made the QR code so that people could easily save it in their phone,” says Penland-Ernsberger. “They can look it up later; maybe they’re not thinking about what resources they need at the moment.”

She started the project as a social media campaign; however, the QR code better fit the community’s needs.

The location of these flyers will not only be convenient, but they help enhance the resources memorial hospital already has by making the fliers more discreet. The QR code can direct patients to fit their specific needs. It could also erase any hesitancies in those that may feel embarrassed about the pamphlet their reaching for.

She developed this health assessment/promotion initiative to have the long-term goal of helping to decrease ER traffic and ensure safety to patients and staff.

With the QR code, you can access sensitive information discretely and keep more resources handy. While the QR codes may not be available at Memorial Hospital yet, the spreadsheet can be accessed here.

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