Healthy People make healthy communities

We're proud to partner with dozens of dedicated organizations to improve the health of our community, our state and our world.

HealthMap 2016 identified six areas of greatest community need: access to care, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, infant mortality, mental health and addiction, and obesity. We provide services in these areas to all community residents — both those from underserved areas as well as the broader community.

Download the 2016 Community Benefit Summary (PDF)

Infant Mortality

Every week in Franklin County, three families lose a baby before he or she turns one year old. Franklin County's infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the nation. There is also significant racial disparity in infant-mortality rates, with black babies dying at twice the rate of white babies. Disorders related to prematurity and low birth weight are the principal causes of infant mortality and are influenced by a host of socioeconomic factors. That's why it takes an entire community to combat this serious health issue. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center provides substantial professional and volunteer support to initiatives designed to reduce premature births and infant mortality in Columbus.

View All Infant Mortality Community Outreach activities

  • "What's really different about the STEPP clinic is the support it gives women to overcome the social barriers they face, the biggest of them being safe housing. These women are in situations that most people couldn't cope with. We see patients who are really struggling."
    Mona Prasad, DO, MPH, medical director, STEPP

Access to Care

Hospital emergency departments in Franklin County are used more heavily that the statewide average. Why? People who lack access to primary care providers are more likely to use emergency departments for non-emergencies than other people. Additionally, lack of regular preventive care can result in emergency health visits to hospital emergency departments.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center helps to provide increased access to underserved residents in a number of ways, including:

  • Free and reduced-cost clinics
  • Clinics focused on specific ethnicity and underserved populations
  • Health education programs
  • Health screenings for the homeless
  • Screenings for those receiving mental health treatment
  • Community health fairs
  • Interactive programs for children in schools
  • Partners in education in middle and high schools

View All Access to Care Community Outreach activities

  • "Dental care is still the number-one unmet health need for Ohio's children and at-risk populations."
    Canise Bean, DMD, MPH, director of Community Education, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry

Behavioral Health

Mental health and addiction are pervasive problems in our community. An estimated one in four adults in Franklin County experiences mental illness. Hospitalizations for psychiatric reasons and for attempted suicides have been increasing. And a lack of psychiatric beds means these patients often turn up at hospital emergency departments, crowding those facilities until more appropriate settings can be found.

Meanwhile, it's no secret that opiate use, addiction and accidental overdoses are on the rise. More than 10 percent of Franklin County residents 12 or older have required treatment for substance abuse. Columbus Public Health reported a 227 percent increase in overdose deaths among county residents between 2003 and 2014. Heroin-related deaths have surpassed prescription opiates among unintentional overdose deaths.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is doing its part to provide mental health and addiction support where it is most needed. This includes:

  • Free and reduced-cost clinics
  • Volunteer work with refugee populations who suffer from a high degree of stress
  • Mental health screenings and referrals for underserved populations
  • Research
  • Concussion testing in the schools
  • School-based mentor programs
  • Community initiatives to promote safe prescription use and prevent drug abuse
  • Operation Red Box safe-needle-disposal program


Obesity in Ohio and in Franklin County is a continuing problem. In Franklin County, nearly one-third of adults (30.7 percent) are obese, compared to the national average of 27.6 percent. Even more alarming, 19.8 percent of children are considered obese, compared to 13.7 percent nationally.

People who are obese are at increased risk for many other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is combating obesity in our community through a number of initiatives:

  • Research
  • Nutrition counseling and education at free and reduced-cost clinics and community agencies
  • Health screenings at churches, community events, health fairs and other public venues
  • School-based programs
  • Employer-based health events

View All Access to Care Community Outreach activities

Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions and diseases are those that are long lasting and can't be prevented by vaccines or cured by medicines. They include heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes and are the leading causes of death and disability nationally, statewide and locally. With respect to cancer, Franklin County has higher rates of lung, colon, breast and pancreatic cancer than the national average. Franklin County also has a higher prevalence of asthma among adults and higher mortality rates for cerebrovascular disease than the national averages.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is active in sponsoring and supporting myriad programs designed to provide the public with education and medical resources for chronic conditions as well as events to raise money for research.

  • Free and reduced-cost clinics
  • Clinics focused on specific ethnicity and underserved populations
  • Health education programs
  • Health screenings for the homeless
  • Screenings for those receiving mental health treatment
  • Community health fairs
  • Interactive programs for children in schools
  • Partners in education in middle and high schools

View All Chronic Conditions Community Outreach activities

  • "The Center for Cancer Health Equity is working to reach minority and underserved populations - especially our new immigrant and refugee populations - so that we can educate them and set them on pathways that empower them to access services such as age appropriate cancer screenings."
    Chastity Washington, MPH, CHES, program director, Center for Cancer Health Equity

Infectious Diseases

The prevalence of infectious diseases is significantly higher in Franklin County than in Ohio and the nation. This is especially true of sexually transmitted diseases. In Franklin County, rates for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are significantly higher than the rest of the state and nation, as are rates for tuberculosis, pertussis and varicella.

Investigators in Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's Division of Infectious Diseases are advancing our clinical knowledge and translational basic research in infectious diseases. National HIV/AIDS experts head the division's AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, an NIH-funded research site that continues to enhance the medical community's knowledge about new treatments.

Investigators in Pharmaceutical Sciences are pursuing new medicines for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, often collaborating with joint faculty members in the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity.

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is also home to the AIDS Education and Training Center, part of a network of training centers financed by the the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The center is housed at McCampbell Hall and serves central and northeast Ohio healthcare providers treating people with HIV or AIDS. Its mission is to improve the quality of patients' lives through high-quality professional education and training.

View All Infectious Disease Community Outreach activities

Global Health

Imagine a place with limited access to hospitals, clinics or medical providers. Imagine a community lacking in basic medical care, emergency treatment or disaster relief. Imagine a society in which preventable diseases and conditions go unnoticed and undiagnosed.

At OSU Wexner Medical Center, we cannot – and will not – imagine such a world.

That's why we're committed to global medical missions and relief efforts.

From nutrition education to post-catastrophe medical response, our faculty and staff invest time, money and care into the health and lives of people around the world.

How We're Helping



Executive Overview

The Central Ohio Hospital Council (COHC), which includes The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, released its health needs assessment to help hospitals and other organizations better understand the health needs and priorities of Franklin County residents.

The Franklin County HealthMap 2016: Navigating Our Way to a Healthier Community Together provides residents of central Ohio with a comprehensive summary of the community's health status and needs. The data will be used to inform the development and implementation of strategic plans to meet the community health needs identified through the assessment.

As part of its mission, COHC serves as the forum for community hospitals to collaborate with each other and with other community stakeholders to improve the quality, value and accessibility of health care in the central Ohio region. Consistent with that mission, central Ohio hospitals believe that the issues facing the community's health care system can be solved more effectively when working together. While this work started as a hospital initiative, the effort has grown into a multi-stakeholder collaborative, whereby a broad range of local organizations worked together to identify, collect and analyze the health indicators contained in this report.

The Wexner Medical Center participated in the Franklin County HealthMap 2016 in partnership with the COHC, Ohio Health, Mount Carmel, Nationwide Children's, Columbus Public Health, United Way, OSU College of Public Health, PrimaryOne Health and Central Ohio Trauma System. The collaborative effort aims to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the greatest health needs of our immediate community. The document has a complete listing of all participants on pages 3-5.

To conduct this initial assessment, the Steering Committee reviewed indicators that were included in the Franklin County HealthMap2013 and, in small group discussions, decided whether to include them in the updated report. Subgroups also discussed including new indicators, which were identified previously via a survey to Steering Committee members.

Data for these health indicators came from national sources (e.g., U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System), state sources (e.g., Ohio Department of Health's Data Warehouse, Ohio Hospital Association) and local sources (e.g., Central Ohio Trauma System, Columbus Public Health). Rates and/or percentages were calculated when necessary. In some instances, comparable state and/or national data were unavailable at the time of report preparation and, accordingly, are not included in this report. All data sources are identified in the Reference section at the end of the report.

In some cases, new indicators were identified for 2016 that were not included in the previous report (2013). In these instances, the most recent data are listed under 2016, and previous data are listed under the 2013 heading, even though it will not be found in the HealthMap2013. This was done for ease of reading. No information gaps that may impact the ability to assess the health needs of the community were identified while conducting the 2016 health needs assessment for Franklin County.

To ensure community stakeholders are able to use this report to make well-informed decisions, only the most recent data available at the time of report preparation are presented. To be considered for inclusion in Franklin County HealthMap2016, indicator data must have been collected or published by 2011. Lastly, although the COHC member hospitals have service areas that extend across central Ohio, for the purposes of this report, the local geographic focus area is Franklin County.

The health map is updated every three years, consistent with federal guidelines. The document is divided into six areas of priority health needs and provides the following information:

  • Complete detail of the process, participants, methodology and the indicators used to determine health priorities.
  • Available community resources currently addressing the needs indicated.
  • A guide to target limited resources, a vehicle for strengthening relationships, and an invaluable tool for the community. A feedback mechanism will also be provided.

2016 Implementation Plan

  • Use community mapping process as measurement tool to encourage cooperation
  • Interact with community leaders and community services agencies
  • Select all six Health Needs
  • Develop individual strategies for each department, college or organization for each of the six Health Needs
  • Develop measurements of progress for each department, college or organization for each of the six Health Needs
  • Evaluate the six health needs as it relates to social determinants of health and population science
  • Focus community outreach and education programs on the most vulnerable and historically underserved residents in the communities
Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Access to Care

The Honduras Dental Healthcare Project
Provides basic dental care to indigent patients in remote areas of Honduras and Central America.

Free Psych Care
Provides care to patients in the community who suffer from chronic mental illness

Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program
Provides needed health-related services to the underserved.

Appalachian Geriatric Dental Program
Provides dental care to residents in community senior centers in the Appalachian counties of southeastern Ohio region

Asian Festival
Provides glaucoma screeenings

Asian Free Clinic
Provides free medical services to the Asian community

Athletics for Individuals With Disabilities
Assists athletes with disabilities in participating in the Special Olympics and other programs

Backpack Awareness Event
Students provide education about safe and proper backpack wearing

Buckeye Gymnastics
Students assist children with disabilities in gymnastics

Clintonville Elementary Health Fair
Provides routine health screenings

Columbus Free Clinic 
A medical student-run clinic providing healthcare services to the underserved in Columbus

Columbus Public Schools Health Fair
Provides routine health screenings to parents and staff

Columbus Public Schools
Provides College of Nursing volunteers

Columbus Public Schools: Concussion Testing
Neuropsychological concussion testing in Columbus Public Schools

Community Agency Support
Provides support services to various community agencies

Community Events: Dental
Offers community events for the homeless, uninsured, minorities and veterans 

Dental Care at Ohio Prisons
Provides dental care to Ohio prisoners

Dental H.O.M.E Coach
Provide basic dental services (mobile unit)

Faith Mission Health and Dental Care
Provides emergency care to the homeless

Food Pantry
Conducts food pantry client assessments

Free Glaucoma Screenings by National Optometric Student Association
Provides glaucoma screenings to underserved communities of central Ohio

Give Kids a Smile
Provides dental care screenings and fluoride application for children

Global Outreach in Singapore
Provides dental care to the elderly in Singapore

Grace in the City Hardin Clinic
Provides medical care and social services to underserved 

Headstart Dental Screenings
Provides dental care screeenings to children 

Health Education Snippets
Produces health education messages to clients

Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center
Provides medical care and social services to the underserved 

Hilliard Board of Education: Pre-kindergarten vision and hearing screening
Provides vision and hearing screenings to children

Hilliard School District: Free Vision and Hearing Screenings and Sports Physicals
Provides vision and hearing screenings to children 

Hispanic Clinical Day: Free vision exams
Offers free vision exams to uninsured Spanish-speaking individuals

Home Assessments
Conduct home assessments for older adults

Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers
Educates diverse population of undergraduate students about the profession of optometry, providing hands-on learning experience, academic counseling and study skills strategies to prepare for professional schooling

Jaycee Arms & Nazareth Towers
Provides health assessments to high-risk elders with multiple chronic illnesses

La Clinica Latina
Provides free healthcare and dental services to Hispanics and Latinos in Columbus community

Linden STEM Academy
Provides health screenings

Meal Delivery
Delivers meals to homebound older adults in the community

Meals on Wheels
Delivers meals to clients' homes

Medical Student Community Services Projects
Students devote a minimum of 12 hours of service to the agency of their choice.

MidOhio Food Pantry
Assists with various activities requested by Food Pantry

Netwellness Consulting
Provides answers to questions related to oral health posted online by the public

New Life Methodist Free Clinic
Provides healthcare services to homeless

Noor Clinic
Free clinic operated by volunteer staff, residents, Medical students and doctors

Nursing Home Project Dental Care
Provide dental care to elderly in nursing home facilities in Franklin County

Ohio Project Dental
Provides dental care to the underserved

Ohio Senate Hearings Testimony on Concussions
Provides testimony to the Ohio Senate regarding a bill to mandate standards of care for youth and student athletes with concussions

Ohio State College of Optometry Student Fundraiser
Raises funds to pay for exams and eyeglasses for patients who cannot afford to pay for needed services.

Ohio Wheelchair Games
Offers wheelchair sporting events

Operation Self-Care
Provides information to patients about self-medications

OSU LiFESports

Provides summer camps to at-risk youth that include education, physical activity and mentorship 

OT National Day of Service

Provides occupational therapy services to adults with disabilities

Physicians Care Connection Medical Student Volunteer
Provides free medical care to the uninsured

Physicians Free Clinic
Provides physical and occupational therapy consultations, conducts stroke depression screenings and offers nutrition counseling

Poison Awareness Program – Be Poison Smart!
Provides information on how to poison-proof your home

Poison Awareness Program
A partnership of student pharmacists and the Central Ohio Poison Control Center which educates the elderly about medication safety

Safety Day at COSI
Educates public on the proper use of child car seats

Smiles for Schools
Offers oral hygiene education and free toothbrushes and toothpaste

Special Olympics Funfitness
Provide fitness screenings for Ohio Special Olympic athletes

Vision Clinic in Lower Lights Christian Health Center
Offers vision care to economically depressed area of west Columbus

Behavioral Health

GEMS Health Fair
Offers health fair activities

Chronic Conditions

Blood Pressure & Glucose Screenings
Provides free blood pressure and glucose screenings to the elderly who are high at risk

Breaking the Pain Chain
Provides information about adults living with arthritisz

Breathing Association
Assists with activities requested by agency including development and execution of nutrition resourcesz

Camp Cheerful: Fresh Air Camp
Provides camp activities for children with respiratory conditions 

Camp Hamwi: Nutrition Support for Campers with Diabetes
Provides nutrition support for campers with diabetes

CHAMP Camp: Educational Opportunities for Children on Vents
Provides camp activities for children with respiratory conditions

Champion Avenue Food Bank
Offers free blood pressure and glucose screenings/check-ups

Columbus Health Works: Community Exercise for People with Parkinson's
Offers community exercise classes for people with Parkinson's disease

CODA Events: Central Ohio Diabetes Screening
Offers diabetes screenings

Comer Sano, Vivir Sano
Provides nutrition education to Latino community

Community Presentations
Provides education about various cancer topics and clinical trials

County Fairs
Provides health screenings to farmers and rural residents with arthritis

Drive for COPD
Offers free Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease screenings

Huntington's Disease Family Support Group
Provides education materials and lectures on nutrition for patients and families

Integrated Health Care

Provides care coordination to adults with physical and/or behavioral health needs

Lung Screenings at Carrie's Café
Offers COPD screenings and provides education about lung health 

Lung Screenings at Hilltop Dining
Offers lung screenings

Men's Health Education Series
Develops, implements and evaluates programs that focus on improving knowledge and behaviors about the prevention and early detection
of colon, lung and prostate cancers among the underserved

Nationwide Children's Hospital Celiac Conference
Faculty and students design educational activities for conference

Ohio Lung Association

Develops nutrition resources

Open Airways
Open Airways, a project of members of APhA-ASP Chapter at the College of Pharmacy

Operation Diabetes: Education and Screening
Provides education to elementary/middle school students and offers glucose screenings at health fairs

Operation Heart: Script Your Future
Provides medication counseling to patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, COPD and asthma

Operation Heart: Million Hearts
Promotes medication adherence to patients with high blood pressure

Patient-Centered Diabetes Care Model 
Examines the reduction in A1C, blood pressure and weight in African Americans after six months of education

Professional Education
Provides educational presentations to professionals and group members about health disparities and various cancers as well as clinical trials

Running with the Buckeyes 5K
Raises money for injured athletes

Sister Screen Saver Program
Provides breast health education and mammograms to underinsured women via The James mobile mammography unit.

Sjogen's Disease Family Support Group
Provides education materials and lectures to patients and families about nutrition

Summer Camp Field Trip Experience
Gives presentations to children to foster appreciation of health professions

Tobacco Cessation Clinic

Offers tobacco cessation education to tobacco users

Vive Mejor, Vive Feliz 

Provides education about cancer

Infant Mortality

Council on Healthy Mothers and Babies Participant
Aims to decrease infant mortality

Provides care and support to expectant mothers in low-come Columbus neighborhoods, designed to reduce infant mortality and preterm births

Stable Cradle program
Provides pregnancy and parenting education and mentoring to mothers recovering from substance abuse living in the U.S.

Infectious Diseases

Hepatitis B Program (CDC)
Provides screenings and vaccines to foreign-born Asian Americans and African Americans

Operation Immunization
Provides influenza vaccines

Mental Health & Addiction

Generation Rx-Drug Abuse Awareness and Safe Use Program
Provides resources to prevent medication drug abuse and to promote safe use of medications

Generation Rx-Medication Safety
Aims to improve medication safety and raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of prescription drug abuse.

Goodwill Health and Wellness: music movement program, cooking classess and other wellness initiatives
Offers music movement programs, cooking classess and other wellness initiatives

Integrated Health Care/Pro-Bono Mental Health Counseling
Provides care coordination and behavioral health counseling to the uninsured and underinsured

Katy's Kids
Provides interactive programs for children in pre-kindergarten through 1st grade about medication safety

Wellness Wednesday
Provides interactive game to young community members based on assessments of behavioral health and acuity


Broad Street Food Pantry
Conducts food pantry client assessments

Columbus Neighborhood Health Center
Provides nutrition counseling and education to patients at Columbus Neighborhood Health Centers

Cooking Matters
Provides nutrition education and cooking demonstrations to community participants

Easter Egg Hunt: school supplies instead of candy
Gives away school supplies to needy children in lieu of candy in Easter eggs.

Evaluate menus for allergens and carbohydrate counting
Provides evaluation of menus for allergens and carbohydrate counting

Flying Horse Camps: Nutrition Education
Provides nutrition education to staff, food service employees and campers

Franklin County WIC: Nutrition Counseling
Provides nutrition counseling and education to WIC program participants

Nutritional materials for NCH
Develops and designs teaching materials used by clinical nutrition staff to educate patients

OSU Wellness Center
Provides nutrition counseling and education

Ronald McDonald House
Prepares meals for Ronald McDonald House families

St. Brigids Kildare School: Nutrition Education
Designs and implements nutrition education for grades K-6; health fair for staff

Other Partnerships

Other Partnerships

American Red Cross

Our combined work helps raise awareness of minority population blood donation to ensure a safe, adequate blood supply.

Learn more

Bodies Program

This is a program with Metro Early College High School that exposes students to careers in healthcare and provides them with knowledge of research methodologies.

Learn more

Franklin County HealthMap 2016

Health status and needs of the central Ohio community prepared by a coalition of local hospitals and government agencies. View the report.

Mount Vernon Avenue District Improvement Association

In collaboration, and through a variety of enrichment programs, we support the economic and cultural vitality of the city's near east side.

Learn more

Ohio Better Birth Outcomes

This collaborative is dedicated to reducing the incidences of pre-term births in Columbus and Franklin County.

Learn more

Ohio State Health Disparities Collaborative

Working together, we evaluate healthcare access, coverage and more to reduce statewide health disparities and inequities.

Learn more

Ohio State Health Network

This resource- and information-sharing partnership of hospitals across Ohio helps lower operating costs while increasing patient care quality.

Learn more

Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT)

Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) is a partnership among the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and Near East Side stakeholders to create a healthy, financially and environmentally sustainable community.

Partners in Education

Partners in Education is a Wexner Medical Center priority, and we offer a multifaceted approach to promoting education at several Columbus City public schools by providing sport physicals, visits to our clinical skills lab and funding for band instruments and service projects.

Learn more

United Way

Our partnership includes seeking ways to improve community health, promote civic pride and address racial health disparities.

Learn more

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