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Skiff Medical Center Receives Grant for Mental Health Coalition

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Skiff Medical Center receives grant for mental health coalition


Skiff Medical Center has been awarded a three-year grant in the amount of $98,907, from the Mission and Ministry Fund of Catholic Health Initiatives for Jasper County Collaborative: Building Access for Mental Health Services, a project focused on creating a mental health coalition in Jasper County.

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is a national health-care system based out of Englewood, Colo. that includes Skiff Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines. Each year they award grants to projects which have the attributes CHI seeks when awarding Mission and Ministry Fund grants: It meets an identified community need, is innovative, is able to be replicated and promotes collaboration with other organizations.

The purpose of the project is to create a mental health coalition in Jasper County with a comprehensive representation of key stakeholders in the community. The coalition will work to create a coordinated, community-focused effort to analyze the mental health environment in Jasper County and to determine opportunities for improving access to care and patient outcomes. The coalition will review and analyze current resources and services to identify the voids in service and opportunities to improve care so it can create and implement a unified action plan.


“After participating in the mental health forum last fall, Skiff really felt that it would be beneficial to the community to organize a coordinated effort to address mental health needs in Jasper County,” said Sonja Ranck, Skiff Chief Operating Officer. “Through this grant, Skiff will play a pivotal role in bringing community organizations together and aligning them with a common goal. By working together, the coalition will be able to provide a clear picture of action that is needed to enhance services.”


Skiff will partner with House of Mercy, a mission-based organization of Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, which has a satellite location in Newton, for leadership on creating and leading the coalition for Jasper County. House of Mercy has almost 30 years of experience in providing health, wellness and human services programming to individuals and their families who are struggling with chemical dependency and mental health issues.


“While Skiff is the recipient of the grant funds and is organizing the effort, we know that partnership with community organizations is crucial to the success of this project,” said Ranck.  “Our community works very well together and we look forward to uniting with other key organizations to provide the greatest impact to our community.”

The grant is for a three-year period, with year one being dedicated to convening the coalition and producing a plan which will be implemented and refined in the second and third years. The grant funding covers the salary of a new part-time position for an individual to lead the coalition, as well as other necessary resources. Skiff and House of Mercy have also committed $114,388 in in-kind services for the three-year project.  Plans are currently underway for the hiring of the individual to lead the coalition, and Skiff anticipates convening the first meeting of the coalition by early fall.

“We really appreciate CHI’s investment in Skiff and our community, especially for such an important project,” said Leisa Zylstra, Skiff Foundation and Mission Manager. “This was our first year to be eligible to apply for this grant, and we know that CHI received many applications from other facilities within the health-care system, so we feel very fortunate to have been named a recipient.”

For more information about the project, contact Zylstra at or (641) 787-3179.


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