Episode 21 of the More than Health Care: A Community Health Conversation podcast is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Every other week, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.

As chief program officer, Saarah Waleed oversees most of Villa of Hope’s programs and services. And while the organization’s commitment to serving its community dates to the 1930s, Waleed emphasizes that it is continually exploring and evaluating new ideas that encompass a modern, holistic approach for care and services.

Based in Rochester, New York, the Villa provides residential and outpatient programs through an integrated clinic serving children, youth, and families with substance use and mental health disorders. In recent years, it has used a wraparound approach within its behavioral health clinic, which begins with its centralized client intake with questions that go beyond the immediate need.

This method fosters a better treatment approach by identifying the client’s current issue while also digging deeper into other problems that may be affecting the individual. “What we do know is that if housing is an issue, or food insecurity is an issue, or any other kind of pieces are missing, then the engagement in treatment is going to be impacted,” Waleed explains. “We are trying to figure out what are the key elements that this person would need to be successful in receiving treatment.

Waleed also relates that the Villa's relationships with health care entities is changing for the better. As new data-driven approaches are used, and the villa's direct connection to the community is recognized, the door is opening to better cooperation. “I think the conversation is changing a little bit … our local, two main health systems have been engaged in these conversations of ‘how do we support some of the areas that we know that we all struggle in,’” said Waleed.

Villa of Hope’s wraparound approach is proving to be successful, but it took a bold effort to try new methods. And Waleed believes that all community-based organizations can stay relevant and viable by not being afraid to “totally regenerate” to address the business side of care as diligently as they do in personally connecting with the needs of the communities they serve.

Listen as Waleed explains the need to continually implement and test new ideas to better serve communities which can also lead to stronger, more trustful relationships with healthcare in Episode 21 of the  More than Health Care Podcast  available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations. 

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors. 

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Ascentria Care Alliance, and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Cohosts Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and Tim Johnstone, executive vice president of community services at Ascentria, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration. 

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Learn more about the Alliance's efforts to improve population health and well-being.