Norwalk Hospital received a $31,200 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation to improve public health in Greater Norwalk using a community care team navigator.

The CCTs are population-based treatment models that work to improve health outcomes and reduce avoidable costs, especially for individuals with complex or chronic conditions.

Norwalk Hospital's Mental Health/Substance Abuse CCT was developed in response to public health needs identified in the 2012 Greater Norwalk Community Health Assessment, a collaborative, community health planning process.

The CHA, which integrates feedback from hundreds of community residents, service providers and community stakeholders, ranked mental health and substance abuse among the top three public health concerns in the Greater Norwalk area.

The FCCF grant will help subsidize the work of the MHSA CCT navigator, who will provide patient-centered care to targeted individuals as well as referrals to Greater Norwalk community-based mental health, substance abuse and housing agencies. The one-year, full-time navigator position will also serve as a vital community liaison to coordinate and leverage existing community-based resources.

"We must have effective community collaboration if we are to successfully treat the chronically mentally ill, homeless, and substance abusing populations," said K. Tait Michael, MD, a practicing psychiatrist and Norwalk Hospital consultant who is guiding the MHSA CCT effort. "Great work is being done, and we now have the opportunity to combine efforts toward the common goals of housing and appropriate treatment."