The CDC defines social determinants of health as “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of–life risks and outcomes.” Over the last several years, the health care industry at large has turned its attention to addressing social determinants of health in order to prevent health issues from starting, or to mitigate the effects that individuals already experience. We know that where you live affects your health, and we know that people of color, particularly Black and Hispanic folks, have been historically segregated to neighborhoods with poorer conditions. At CommunityHealth, 100% of our patients struggle with poverty. In order to care for our patients to the best of our ability, we needed to provide support beyond their doctor’s appointments, as well. Therefore, in our continued dedication to holistic and preventative care, CommunityHealth has partnered with Elevate to implement the Healthy Homes Program!
What is the Healthy Homes Program?
The Healthy Homes Program addresses common health and safety issues in homes by providing people with education and information on how to improve their physical home environment to decrease asthma and allergy triggers, as well as other areas of concern.
Upon completion of the education workshops, a participant then has the option to schedule a date for a home visit, wherein our Community Health Workers (CHWs) and partners from Elevate will help evaluate the aspects of the home environment that affect health and safety. This inspection may include indoor air quality, pest management, energy efficiency, water safety, lead and radon testing, natural disaster resiliency, and more. Participants may also receive in-depth home upgrades at no charge to the homeowner if issues are found during the home assessment.
Elevate’s vision is “to create a world in which everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities — no matter who they are or where they live.” Their dedication to equity in the face of climate change is admirable, and we wholeheartedly support their mission. We’re so thrilled to be able to connect our patients directly to the many resources Elevate has to offer.
We also know that the thought of having strangers poke around your home can be intimidating. That’s why we’re providing two tiers of incentives: educational workshops participants will receive small household items with a value of $100 and home visit participants will receive an additional $350 worth of household appliances (such as an air purifier and HEPA vacuum). Our first two sessions are already full, with 30 patients already registered, and we hope to continue this momentum in the coming weeks!
Who is leading the program?
Last month, Nicolas Chavez and Lesly Diaz joined CommunityHealth as our first ever on-staff Community Health Workers. Note the space in between “community” and “health;” CHWs aren’t just any CommunityHealth employees. CHWs, also known as Promotores de Salud, are frontline public health workers who engage closely with the community they serve. Often a trusted member or local leader within that community, a CHW has a unique capability to be a reliable liaison between community and organization. Community Health Workers increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.
Through these CHWs, patients have a direct line of communication to the organization providing them resources. Thus, a CHW helps improve not only accessibility of service, but also quality of service. When CHWs communicate feedback from patients to us, we are able to better adapt our services to the needs of the patient. These team members empower communities, giving a voice and representation to vulnerable individuals, bridging the gap between service-provider and service-recipient.
When will the Healthy Homes Program take place?
The Healthy Homes Program kicked off on Monday May 9th and will continue on Mondays and Saturdays throughout June.
How can I participate?
Interested applicants must be uninsured and low-income. Get in touch with Nicolas (312.623.8033) or Lesly (312.623.1289) to register for a workshop!