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Pilot Projects undertaken by the AMHC are established to test new strategies, materials, hypothesis and theories related to the health of minorities in the state. These pilot projects are designed to utilize evidence-based data, programs and materials in determining what strategies may be appropriate for use by and dissemination among minority populations with an eye towards reducing and, ultimately, eliminating health disparities in Arkansas. The following are programs currently undertaken this reporting period by AMHC as strategic pilot projects to address the aforementioned;
Southeast Targeted Area Resources for Health is a pilot program, in Southeast Arkansas covering Chicot, Desha, and Lincoln counties that is showing a new way for delivering local public health programs and services in local communities. One in which the health agency works in specially-defined partnerships with other state agencies (Human Services, Education, Economic Development, UA Cooperative Extension), as well as with local citizens, hospitals, doctors, schools, churches, businesses and civic groups. In this pilot project, the ADH recruits and trains Community Health Workers (CHW) from and for three counties with very high minority population ratios. All lie in Southeast Arkansas where there are also low levels of traditional health providers/resources.
The primary purpose is to establish a pilot CHW initiative (community ‘connectors’ program) in an effort to improve health outcomes in three counties with large African-American populations.
This pilot project operates under the theory that the key to expanding local capacity without access to lots of additional funds is two-fold;
- An expanded, active, and diverse hometown health coalition and
- The addition of new ‘helping hands’ for outreach and community-based services through use of volunteers and paraprofessional health workers
The CHW’s have made personal contact with more than 3000 individuals through focus groups, community networking, telephone calls or home visits. Approximately 62% of those contacts were African American and 31% were female. CHW’s reported seeing a lot of chronic disease issues. In response, CHW’s have been making lots of referrals to DHS, Cancer Society, Prescription Assistance programs; assisting with making appointments; helping find transportation, assisting with completion of applications as needed…etc.
The Jones Center for Families, Inc. Gaps in Services- Northwest Arkansas
The Gaps in Services to Marshallese Task Force, Springdale, AR, requested funding from the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to develop a handbook to help with the acculturation process for people moving from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to Arkansas. The handbook will be available in print and on the Internet in both English and Marshallese. The agencies represented on the Gaps in Services collaboration will be invited to have a link to the handbook on their websites are the Marshallese Task Force members, the Jones Center for Families, Inc., and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission.
Northwest Arkansas has the largest number of people from the Republic of the Marshall Islands living in the continental United States. The estimated population of Marshallese in Northwest Arkansas ranges from 6,000 – 10,000.
The goal of this project is to provide to people from the Republic of the Marshall Islands migrating to Arkansas access to quality health care through healthier lifestyles, awareness of services, and accessibility within Arkansas’ health care system. Helpful information covering housing, finances, driving and education will be included to help with the transition.
Arkansas Aging Institute-Delta Center on Aging, Healthy Lifestyles Challenge
The goal of this project is to improve the lifestyle of patients of the Delta Center on Aging’s Senior Health Clinic by helping each patient demonstrate improvement in at least one of the areas of weight, blood pressure, lipid levels, glucose level or physical activity. The program is a nutritional, physical activity and disease self-management program that focuses on the elderly population under physician supervision. This intervention will be piloted to determine effectiveness and feasibility of dissemination of program to additional Centers on Aging in minority areas.
The Delta Center on Aging’s Senior Health Clinic’s goal is to improve the life style of 40 patients by achieving a healthy weight, improving blood pressure control, improve lipids levels, lower A1C levels, and increase exercise through the Healthy Lifestyles Challenge Program. This program will utilize evidence-based medicine: nutrition, exercise, education, group support, and accountability. This program is unique in that it involves exclusively older adults in a program under physician supervision. Furthermore, this program is individualized for each participant and allows monitoring of health benefits besides just weight with the focus on developing a healthy lifestyle. Last, but certainly not least, unlike most structured programs, there will be no cost to the participants.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Delta Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Navigation Project
Arkansas Minority Health Commission funded The Delta Area Health Education Center (Delta AHEC) to examine and address health disparities in the seven (7) county service area of the Delta AHEC region. The seven (7) counties are Chicot, Crittenden, Desha, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, and St. Francis. Multiple public forums and data gathered from the community have been determined and found a common problem of the lack of utilization of existing services has been identified. The Delta AHEC will seek to improve health through increased utilization of health services by minority community members.
The Delta AHEC plans to establish goals to increase the utilization of services by forming focus groups and interviews in the community to determine why minority residents do not utilize existing health and human service resources. Develop a plan for a mobile “1-stop-shop” of resources that can move to different community locations within the seven (7) county areas. The “1-stop-shop” will be piloted and evaluated in September 2010.
Several community resources will be identified in order to work in partnership to determine what established existing services are and to foster an increase utilization of health and human service resources for the minority community.
Other “Pilot Projects”
The HIV/AIDS Outreach Initiatives and Sickle Cell Outreach Initiatives, although they are significant Outreach and community awareness, education programs at AMHC, are also pilot projects established to test new strategies, materials, hypothesis and theories.
The AMHC continues to research the development of a strong and wide reaching Sickle Cell Outreach Initiative.
AMHC has partnered with Sickle Cell Support Services (SCSS), a non-profit community based organization, in their efforts to enhance the well-being of sickle cell patients and families in the state of Arkansas through outreach, education and awareness. Although there was no activity with SCSS during this quarter, educational materials on sickle cell were distributed at AMHC sponsored health fairs as well as other community events.
AMHC has collaborated with a Master of Public Health and Master of Public Service (MPH/MPS) graduate student from the Clinton School of Public Service, to do research and help develop Sickle Cell activities. AMHC continues to participate in the Arkansas Legislative Taskforce on Sickle Cell and work towards other collaborative efforts with organizations across the state.
This project is in collaboration with the UAMS College of Public Health Center for Health Disparities Research. Physician practice based methods to enhance adherence to practice guidelines and improve overall quality of care have been examined in a variety of prevention and treatment arenas, however there is little research in using these methods to reduce health disparities by improving overall quality of care. Therefore, formative research is critical to understand how best to approach practices to engage them in promoting appropriate care for diabetes and CVD among minority patients and how best to facilitate enhanced adherence to established practice guidelines so that health disparities are reduced.