Posts Tagged ‘vulnerable populations’

Promotoras Make Connections

March 11th, 2013

What’s a Promotora?  In simple terms, a Promotora is a community health worker who’s a trusted member of the community and serves as a link between people and services to promote the overall health of family, friends and neighbors. Creating effective linkages between vulnerable populations and the health care system can be challenging in Arizona. Like many other agencies in Arizona, we’ve called on Promotoras to bridge the gap between community members and health care service providers. 

We have a long history of working with Promotoras.  In 1994 our Health Start Program was established and began utilizing them to link women, children, and families to services to reduce low birth weights and the number of children affected by childhood diseases. There are now 45 Promotoras in the Health Start Program who reflect the ethnic culture of their communities and receive extensive training on pregnancy, child growth and development, and community resources. Eligible families receive home visits by Promotoras during their pregnancy and after the birth of their children up to two years of age. 

Our Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program uses Promotoras to help manage services for high blood pressure in Yuma and Maricopa Counties.  We partner with the U of A to train Promatoras on identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure and the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. In Yuma County, more than 1,400 patients are currently enrolled in this hypertension management program. The Maricopa County Hypertension Project is now underway at Wesley Community Health Center and is demonstrating a 100% compliance rate that patients get follow up services if needed. Any behavioral health patients seen at Wesley are referred to the Hypertension Project if they meet the requirements.  

As we look to the future, Promotoras will probably have an increasingly essential role in outreach, reducing health care disparities and emergency room costs within the changing healthcare environment. We’ve partnered with the U of A to call upon nationally respected experts to create the best strategy for Arizona to move forward in building a sustainable Promotora program.  To learn more about this exciting program contact Sara Rumann at or David Heath at

Strategic National Stockpile Readiness

February 27th, 2013

The CDC’s “Strategic National Stockpile” is a large quantity of medicine and medical supplies that are available to states in case there’s a public health emergency (flu outbreak, asteroid, etc.) severe enough to cause local health supplies to run out.  Once federal and local authorities agree that the stockpile is needed, meds and supplies are delivered to any state in time for them to be effective. Each state is responsible for receiving and distributing the stockpile assets to local communities fast. 

Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness shop is responsible for the overall planning and execution in AZ.  The Plan (which isn’t posted on-line for security reasons) provides a step by step approach to accessing and distributing pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other medical equipment and products stored by the Feds.  Our Plan is evaluated yearly by the CDC.  The review covers every aspect of our plan… including how we communicate with the public, work with our healthcare and Agency partners as well as how we plan to work with vulnerable populations should SNS assets be needed. 

This year we got a score of 93% from the CDC…  and our partner counties (Pinal and Maricopa) received similar scores- demonstrating that the plans work together effectively to serve the public when they need to be activated.  We’ll be testing these plans during a full-scale exercise this week.  Congratulations to our preparedness rock-stars Teresa Ehnert, Marcus Castle, Stacey Cain and the whole emergency preparedness team! 

By the way…  we received and executed stockpile assets (antiviral medications and other healthcare supplies) during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic.  Our turnaround time from the minute we received the first shipment until everything was at its local destination was less than 36 hours- an impressive testament to our ability to plan and execute during a public health emergency. 


New “Health Center Access Point” Grants

August 24th, 2010

The HHS announced availability of the “Health Center New Access Point” Grants.  Up to $250M is available for the delivery of primary health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations under the Health Center Program.  A new access point is a new full-time service delivery site that provides comprehensive primary and preventive health care services.  New access points improve the health status and decrease health disparities of the medically underserved populations to be served. For more information, including a link to the funding announcement see: