Sixth Annual RWJF Award for Health Equity Presented by the NAFC Awarded to Ilana Steinhauer

National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Announces Call for Nominations for Seventh Annual Award

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics announced that the Sixth Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity Presented by the NAFC has been awarded to Ilana Steinhauer, Executive Director of the Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, Great Barrington, MA. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — the nation’s leading philanthropy on health and health care — developed this award program to find and honor individuals working for systemic change to address health inequities within their communities.

Headshot of Ilana Steinhauer Ilana Steinhauer is not only the Executive Director of the VIM Berkshires but also serves as clinical director and is an active nurse practitioner. The Massachusetts clinic provides care to about 1,300 patients, 80% of whom are minority immigrants, mainly from Latin America. Attention to the social determinants of health is a fully integrated piece of Ilana’s model of healthcare. From ensuring the availability of translators to having patients meet with community health workers to assess needs related to housing, employment, education, childcare, etc., and to make connections to available resources, she is constantly working to address and reduce health disparities.

Being a rural community with a lack of public transportation, Ilana helped create a transportation program to get patients to and from appointments, eliminating a major barrier to care. This program provides almost 1,000 rides annually, which significantly increased patient visit attendance and, in turn, drove improved health outcomes. She also helped create and serves as a leader of BASIC–Berkshire Alliance to Support the Immigrant Community, which brings together different local organizations working to make it easier for immigrants to thrive in their community, harnessing the various available resources and working together to change the systems that impact health outcomes. Ilana also helped ensure that resources were available to address the COVID-19 pandemic by educating the community, helping identify places to quarantine for those living in congregate housing, and ensuring equitable access to vaccines. Greater than 95% of the clinic’s patients have received COVID-19 vaccinations.

Within the VIM clinic, Ilana ensures equity is central to the organization’s culture. She hired a Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) expert to work with staff, volunteers, and board members and launched a multicultural action group representing all key constituents (including patients and community members) to assess the clinic’s performance and recommend action, ranging from policy changes and staffing to adjusting intake and treatment practices.

“We are grateful to have leaders like Ilana Steinhauer who are dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, and equitable care to the members of their communities,” NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer Nicole Lamoureux said. “Ilana exemplifies the passion found at Volunteers in Medicine and other Free and Charitable Clinics for creating a culture of health, addressing disparities, and changing systems to have a positive impact on health outcomes in communities throughout the country.”

The RWJF Awards for Health Equity is a grant program spanning seven years that has been awarded to the NAFC and other organizations spanning sectors including public health, health care, social justice, civic leadership, education, community development, and philanthropy. Previous winners of the RWJF Award for Health Equity presented by the NAFC include Mike Espel, St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy in Cincinnati, OH; Steve Crane, The Free Clinics (TFC) in Hendersonville, NC; Angela Settle, West Virginia Health Right, Inc. in Charleston, WV, the late Dr. Mary Wirshup, Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Chester, PA and Dr. Maurice Lee, St. Vincent de Paul’s Virginia G. Piper Medical & Dental Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

The NAFC is requesting nominations for the Seventh Award for Health Equity. Any health care practitioner at a NAFC member organization can be nominated (or self-nominate) for their work using an equity lens in improving outcomes under one of the following focus areas: increasing patient visit capacity, better chronic disease outcomes, reducing emergency room utilization, improved patient compliance, established collaborative health & wellness program in addition to primary care or establishing a successful telehealth or mobile health program.

The nomination period for this award is now open, and all nomination submissions are due by August 10, 2022, at 3 pm EDT. For more information, please contact NAFC staff at The 2022 awardee will be announced, and previous awardees will be honored at the NAFC 2022 Charitable Healthcare Symposium this October in Indianapolis, IN.




About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, we are working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is the only nonprofit 501c (3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of the medically underserved throughout the nation and the more than 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics that serve them. The NAFC has earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is working to ensure that the medically underserved have access to affordable quality health care and strives to be a national voice promoting quality health care for all. For more information about the NAFC, please visit


Source: NAFC Press Release
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