Monica Lounsbery’s mind began to race when she heard that SCAN Heath Plan was donating $40,000 to the College of Health and Human Sciences. How would her department use the money? What area could use it the most?
After thinking about it more, the Dean of CHHS decided it would be a collaborative decision with others in her department, a consortium of ideas that would give the department a focus and clear direction on how to spend the donation. The group would start by studying how the university can help the community.
“We feel we need to know a lot more about how we can disseminate the existing services that are here in the city that can provide the social needs, the health care needs, the mental health needs, the physical needs – all of these needs that senior adults need,” Lounsbery said. “Why is it that some senior adults don’t know how to access these?”
According to Lounsbery, the money has been earmarked for faculty research, the colloquium on aging, campus wellness week activities and the Dean's Excellence Fund. The fund can be used for student scholarships, research and future innovation challenges within the CHHS.
Chris Wing, CEO of SCAN, said the money is a starting point. He foresees the university using the donation for research projects.
“It’s basically to do some research projects,” he said. “If we find solutions that make sense, especially in the city of our origin, there will be more than $40,000 (in the future.) Let’s call it an investment.”
Wing presented the check to Lounsbery at SCAN’s “Aging Reimagined: A Community Approach to Health and Independence” colloquium held at The Pointe. The all-day event featured panel discussions and presentations led by prominent industry leaders, educators, city officials and healthcare experts.
Founded in Long Beach in 1977, SCAN Health Plan is a leading senior-focused organization with the mission of keeping seniors healthy and independent. Wing said there are more than 43,000 senior adults living in Long Beach.
“Some of their needs are simple and some of them complex,” he said. “Some needs are going to be very expensive, so we need to create the village.”
Cal State Long Beach and CHHS is part of that village, he added.
“It’s great to have a major university that is excited about doing a longitudinal study that documents what works and what doesn’t work,” Wing said. “It can have students come in and do community navigator-type work.”
Lounsbery said she is excited to get started on researching solutions.
“Doing things not in isolation, but in concert with our community, will help us not only do high impact research but make sure that research is translated to the community to transform the services that are happening here,” she said.