Award will fund project improving the health and wellbeing of underserved children amid COVID-19

El Centro de Corazón today announced it was awarded a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). The HKHF funding will support BCBSTX’s commitment to community-based organizations supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this project, El Centro will provide high-quality, accessible, and affordable primary and preventive health care services to 4,865 infants, children, and adolescents through telehealth visits and necessary in-person appointments. These services include increasing access to its Children’s Wellness Program for overweight and obese children; increasing access to dental services for a pediatric patient population that has extensive tooth decay in primary and permanent teeth and is at a higher risk for developing cavities due to poor nutrition and eating patterns at home; and increasing access to behavioral health services and support for those with preexisting psychological conditions, helping patients improve their ability to cope, addressing the psychosocial needs of patients, and protecting and improving mental, emotional, and behavioral health during and after this public health crisis.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas will have a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of our community’s most vulnerable children and families hardest hit by COVID-19, by providing vital resources for El Centro to serve those most in need of quality health care services and compassionate support during these very difficult times” said Marcie Mir, El Centro’s Chief Executive Officer.

 Launched in 2011, HKHF started as a three-year project designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. The program was extended as BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of the children and families across Texas.

“This year’s grant process was especially important given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sheena Payne, BCBSTX’s director of Community Investments. “So, we are happy to award these grants that will support and nurture meaningful and transformational projects across Texas. Strategically, it is also important that we continue to aid community-based organizations that are directly supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of this pandemic.”

The HKHF program – which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management and supporting safe environments – has awarded $14 million in funding and impacted the lives of close to three-million children and their families in Texas.

About El Centro de Corazón

Founded in 1994, El Centro de Corazón (El Centro) is an accomplished Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with four health center locations in Houston’s East End and offers a comprehensive range of adult and pediatric health care services for the underserved, uninsured, and underinsured, which includes primary care and family medicine, women’s health, dental, and behavioral health services. El Centro also provides ancillary services to assist patients to overcome barriers to accessing health care. In 2020, El Centro provided direct patient care to 12,012 low-income children and adults for a total of 44,200 patient visits.