Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson County

Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson CountyBy Oziel Pruneda, CHW, Community Health Worker

In April 2024, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) and Community Health Council of Wyandotte County announced a new joint partnership aimed at addressing health inequities and enhancing service coordination in Johnson County. The partnership includes Community Health Worker (CHW) services at the clinic’s Olathe site and Maternal Community Health Worker (MCHW) services available by referral to patients in Johnson and Miami counties. This partnership allows HPC to connect patients with services such as bilingual health education classes, including Healthy Heart Ambassador and Diabetes Prevention Program, support groups for postpartum depression and breastfeeding and more.

What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?

Okay, so this is what I tell colleagues, co-workers and community partners:

Community Health Workers (CHW) are trained members of the community prepared to assist individuals and families to navigate health care systems and address a multitude of social risk factors. CHWs may also provide peer support through culturally responsive care. CHWs are knowledgeable advocates separate from the institutions they are immersed in to address social disparities. CHWs are the connection points from the provider to the patient and are invested in the patient’s overall health outcomes.

CHWs are extensively trained in Motivational Interviewing (MI), Trauma Informed Care, Mental Health First Aid, car seat installation, safe sleep for infants, diabetes education and hypertension education. CHWs are resident experts intentionally stationed in systems that see high demand for underinsured, uninsured, or underserved representation.

CHWs may work with patients/clients over an extended period of time, granting them the ability to gather a deeper understanding of the patients social and medical behavior. CHWs utilize these components to better tailor their program enrollment to the type of services they require and qualify for. CHW also work alongside medical providers to ensure clients are receiving the best possible care.

What I tell patients/clients:

Health Partnership Partners with Community Health Council to Address Health Inequities in Johnson County(In their required language)

Your provider mentioned to me that during your medical appointment you expressed interest in getting connected to a food pantry that is within walking or biking distance of your home. As a Community Health Worker, we specialize in connecting patients, just like you, to community resources such as rental/utility assistance, food pantries, legal services, hygiene products, housing and a lot more.

And what I tell my friends and family:

All the above, plus…

…but they’re [CHWs] so much more than that! Your doctor, nurse, or neighbor was once (or is currently) an acting Community Health Worker to a family member, friend or patient. The concept of a Community Health Worker has existed alongside health care since the beginning of time. CHWs or caretakers may accompany a client or loved one to their medical appointments and act as a competent advocate for their medical, behavioral and social needs. CHWs may help assist clients decipher medication instructions and relay key medical information from the provider all from a perspective the client can understand.

Community Impact

The goals of a CHW are to continue facilitating healthcare delivery and manage healthcare experiences by improving health, removing barriers and reducing overall healthcare costs. CHWs are placed to further empower community members to manage their chronic care needs, facilitate client to provider relationships, improve communication and dispel health system and primary care provider myths.

Health Partnership Clinic and Community Health Workers

Are you interested in learning about what community resources you may qualify for? Health Partnership Clinic now offers a bilingual Community Health Worker on site that can connect you with a range of programs and services that may best fit your needs. To get connected with a Community Health Worker, patients should reach out to their medical provider who will make the appointment.

To learn more, please contact me at 913-828-4941.

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