Faith Community Health Ministry Program Helping Meet Local Health Needs

Mercy Health – Springfield’s Faith Community Health Ministry partnership program is breaking down barriers and coming alongside local congregations with the support knowledge and resources to meet their health needs. It’s one of the big success stories coming out of the health system’s 2023 Community Health Annual Report, which highlights the strides made in addressing health and social needs while also detailing Mercy Health’s approach to advancing health equity and increasing access to care. 

Established in 2021in partnership with the Nehemiah Foundation and the Clark County Combined Health District, the Faith Community Health Ministryprogram helps bridge community care gaps through faith- and community-based partnerships with local churches. The goal is to give churches a voice for their concerns and good information to help them pursue whole-life health and healing.

“We wanted to create connections with local community non-profits, social services, the health department, as well as facilitate visits from health care professionals and local first responders,” explained Mercy Health – Springfield’s Community Health Director Carolyn Young. “It’s opened the door to authentic relationship building along with much needed community capacity building, while also being a trusted source of good health and wellness information for the people of the church to access on a more personal level.”

What began as a relationship with five churches has now tripled to 15 partner churches and more than 30 nurses and health ministers. The program has also seen many successes including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for 150 members of the church community. In fact, 10 participating churches have received and installed an AED. Additionally, the program has provided more than:

  • 330 home/nursing home visits
  • 685 SDOH and health screening engagements
  • 184 Faith Community Nursing and health ministry events or activities
  • 27 referrals to primary care providers and/or emergency services
  • 115 blood pressure checks

Mercy Health – Springfield wants to continue growing and evolving this program and others in its effort to bring good help to those in need, so it is kicking off the2025 Community Health Needs Assessment. Starting this month, the health system is once again partnering with local health departments to identify the top health concerns in Clark & Champaign Counties.The survey, which is available online, asks for community input on items ranging from local health resources, barriers to care, and gaps in services to trends regarding health and healthy lifestyles.

For more information about the 2023 Community Health Annual Report, visit