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Blog

The CHE blog features articles that address different aspects of working towards achieving Health Equity. Check out the blog for stories of success, learning from failure, recommendations, new ideas, and other perspectives of people contributing towards our common goal.

Community Health Workers and Health

“What do you think will help you stay healthy after discharge?”

“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to stay healthy, but I need to make sure I can pay for all of these medications and a doctor. And I need some help with the foreclosure—I can’t take care of myself if I lose my home.”

With this question and answer, Shreya Kangovi, MD, opens the discussion of how a patient’s answers can become the basis for tailored intervention. In a blog entry on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website, Dr. Kangovi describes IMPaCT (Individualized Management for Patient-Centered Targets), an innovative model of care in which community health workers (CHWs) provide tailored support to help patients achieve individualized goals. Workers share socioeconomic background with patients and are selected for traits such as empathy, active listening, and reliability.

To read more, please click HERE.

 

The Invisible Man – Black Men Left Behind

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The Voyage – One version of the immigration experience

One version of the immigration experience, the short film The Voyage is showcased on the website of the California Endowment. The film project, a product of East Oakland Building Healthy Communities, was led by aspiring filmmaker Gabriela Huerta, age 18, with Luis Montoya and Xinh Bui of Simphony Productions

A young girl from Mexico joins her family’s journey to the US, hoping for a brighter future.  Assailed by obstacles at the border, they’re determined to make it across.  The short film was produced by the East Oakland Building Healthy Communities, the youth-run Simphony Productions, and United Roots.

View the film HERE.

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Improving Health for Adults with SMI

The burden of mental illness is most intense among the 4.1 percent of U.S. adults who experience disability due to serious mental illness (SMI), which includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Adults with SMI die at least a decade sooner than their non-mentally ill peers. IN a blog entry on the website for the RAND Corporation, Deborah M. Scharf, Behavioral and Social Scientist and Professor, writes that several factors contribute to this disparity including lifestyle choices, like tobacco use and low rates of exercise; co-occurring substance use disorders; and side effects from mental health medications, such as weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, she writes, a disproportionate number of those with SMI are poor and suffer from hardships related to poverty, such as stress, unstable housing, and lack of access to healthy foods.

Adults with SMI also have difficulty accessing quality preventive medical care. For instance, adults with SMI may feel or be told that they are unwelcome in clinic waiting rooms because of their appearance, hygiene or behaviors; and when they do receive medical care, it is likely to be lower quality than that delivered to other groups. Many adults with SMI report that medical providers dismiss their physical health complaints, attributing them to the mental illness. As a result, adults with SMI often have chronic physical illnesses that go undetected or untreated until the person experiences a medical crisis and he or she presents at an emergency department in need of acute care.

Referring to the RAND Corporation report of the evaluation of the PBHCI grants program, Scharf writes that overall, the results indicate that CMHC-based integrated care can help connect SMI adults to needed medical services, which can in turn improve some health outcomes for this very vulnerable population. It also found that SAMHSA and its partner agencies may benefit from replicating successful initiatives, refining delivery of services, and working with state policymakers to further coordinate policies affecting delivery of integrated care.

To read more on this blog entry, click HERE.

To read the report by RAND, click HERE.

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