Category Archives: Community-based care
Gabriel Rincon, DDS, is the founding executive director of Mixteca Organization, Inc., in Brooklyn, N.Y., which provides a broad scope of health and education programs, including literacy and computer classes, English-language courses, and afterschool programs, to thousands of Hispanic New Yorkers each year. He is also a 2011 recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leader Award. The Human Capital Blog asked Rincon to reflect on his experience as an RWJF Community Health Leader.
Human Capital Blog: How did you come to found the Mixteca Organization?
Gabriel Rincon: In the 1990s distribution of information about AIDS was on the rise in developed nations such as the United States, but in immigrant communities—particularly Hispanic ones—levels of HIV/AIDS infection and general ignorance of the disease was still high. The City of New York was one of the locations with the highest number of Hispanics infected with HIV/AIDS. In 1991, I witnessed the lack of information available in Spanish. I decided in 1992 to take action by designing a slide presentation and organizing talks about HIV/AIDS, signs and symptoms its risks, forms of prevention, and treatments. With the use of a portable projector and informational pamphlets, I made presentations in factories, churches, houses and community centers, and on radio and TV. In 2000, together with other community members, my work was formalized; Mixteca Organization, Inc., obtained its official status as a non-governmental, non-profit community based organization.
Ten individuals who have overcome significant challenges to help improve health and health care in their communities will be named 2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leaders at an awards ceremony in San Antonio.
These remarkable individuals are providing vital health services to residents in their communities, from Anchorage, Alaska to Charleston, South Carolina, and in cities and towns in between. They are helping: refugees grappling with the after-effects of war; low-income workers without insurance; children facing obesity; survivors of sexual violence; senior citizens who live in remote, rural areas; and substance abusers at risk for overdose.
The 2012 Community Health Leaders Award recipients are:
- Kay Branch, MA, elder/rural health program coordinator, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, Alaska;
- Fred Brason, CEO of Project Lazarus and Project Director of the Community Care Network Statewide Chronic Pain Initiative, Wilkes County, N.C.;
- Debbie Chatman Bryant, DNP, RN; assistant director for cancer prevention, control, and outreach, Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.;
- Beth Farmer, MSW, international counseling and community services program director, Pathways to Wellness Project, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Seattle;
- Amy Johnson, JD, executive director, Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, Little Rock, Ark.;
- Ifeanyi Anne Nwabukwu, RN, BSN, chief executive officer, African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA), Silver Spring, Md.;
- Cristina Perez, MA, director of community outreach and counselor, Women Organized Against Rape, Philadelphia;
- Marlom Portillo, executive director, Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA), Los Angeles;
- Darleen Reveille, RN, senior public health nurse, Garfield, N.J.; and
- Kathi Toepel, director of senior services for the Mother Lode Office of Catholic Charities – Diocese of Stockton, Sonora, Calif.
This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.
Each year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award honors 10 of America’s best―unsung heroes who have forged their own solutions to the shortcomings and challenges facing our nation’s health care system.
On Wednesday, RWJF will announce its selection of the 2012 Community Health Leaders, who have surmounted significant challenges to improve health and health care in their communities.
Community Health Leaders see unmet health needs in their neighborhoods and communities, and they move tirelessly to fill those gaps. They have taken matters into their own hands and accomplished what others may have believed was impossible. And often, they have overcome daunting personal obstacles in their quest to serve others.
Community Health Leaders are nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, clergy, attorneys and judges, school officials, activists and advocates. The problems they tackle are varied and complex: promoting statewide policies to improve and expand access to health care services, providing HIV/AIDS education and breast cancer detection, helping low-income people control their children’s asthma, establishing accessible health centers and clinics, and much more.
Now in its 19th year, the Community Health Leaders Award raises awareness of the leaders’ extraordinary contributions through a $125,000 award, national visibility, and networking opportunities. RWJF has honored more than 200 outstanding Community Health Leaders from nearly all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
In the coming weeks, the RWJF Human Capital Blog will hear from the 2011 Community Health Leaders about what they’ve experienced during their first year as Leaders.
For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit www.communityhealthleaders.org.
Joanne Goldblum is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader, and the founder and executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network. The following post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.
This year, the National Diaper Bank Network is recognizing the week of September 10-17 as National Diaper Need Awareness Week, and local diaper banks across the country have asked their state and local officials to do the same. But more than merely declaring a week, we are acknowledging that the country is becoming more and more aware of the fact that diapers are a basic need for infants, toddlers, and those who suffer from incontinence, and that more people are willing to do something about it.
We have come very far in bringing attention to diaper need in the eight years since I began this journey in 2004. When I started The Diaper Bank in New Haven, CT there were very few diaper banks in America, so I looked to the example of the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, the nation’s first diaper bank. That program began in 1994 when a small consulting firm in Tucson, Arizona held a diaper drive during the holiday season to assist a local crisis nursery. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, and seeing the great need in their community, the firm made the December Diaper Drive an annual tradition, and within five years they were collecting 300,000 diapers each December, benefiting families at 30 local social service agencies. In 2000, the diaper drive effort was spun off into an independent non-profit organization, the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona, which continues to provide desperately needed diapers to the people of southern Arizona.
The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona served as my inspiration in 2004 when I decided to start a diaper bank. Through my work with families in need New Haven, I learned that many of the hygiene products I took for granted, such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and diapers, were not available to people who had only food stamps to buy their groceries. The need for diapers, which are so critical for a baby’s health and comfort, was particularly acute. I started small, working out of my living room, but in a few years time, with the help of many others, what started as The New Haven Diaper Bank (now, The Diaper Bank) has grown into the nation’s largest diaper bank, distributing over 14 million diapers since its inception.
Human Capital News Roundup: Rising Medicare expenses, community-based health care, breast cancer prevention and more.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program site director Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, and RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) co-investigator Christopher Ruhm, PhD, were cited in a Bloomberg column by former Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag. The research of both investigators shows, counter-intuitively, that life expectancy rises during periods of economic downturn.
Dawn Alley, PhD, an alumna of the Health & Society Scholars program, is the lead author of a study that finds that obesity—and the chronic conditions that often come with it—are a major contributor to the growth in Medicare expenses. Each obese beneficiary adds an additional $149 a year to Medicare, Reuters reports.
An assessment tool used by the federal government to determine if a community health center is functioning as a “patient-centered medical home” may not accurately reflect the quality of the diabetes care the health center provides, according to a study led by RWJF Clinical Scholar Robin Clarke, MD. The researchers found no significant relationship between passing the assessment and the quality of diabetes care provided, Cardiovascular Business reports. Health Canal also reported on the findings.
In 2008, six RWJF Clinical Scholars at Yale University set out to improve health care in New Haven, Connecticut. They envisioned a coordinated system of physicians, hospitals and community organizations working together to provide donated specialty health care for people who have the most trouble getting it: the poor and uninsured.
This September, their vision became a reality with the opening of Project Access–New Haven. The project provides eligible applicants with patient navigators, who help their assigned patients connect to specialty health care in their community. The project has so far helped 46 patients access care.
But the project does more than just connect patients to health services. Project Access-New Haven organizers also aim to narrow health disparities, collect and report data on care utilization and associated costs, and create a blueprint for other specialty care health systems.
“For too long, academic centers have ignored the needs of the populations around them,” said Harlan Krumholz, M.D., S.M., director of the Clinical Scholars program at Yale University. “With the Foundation’s support, we are seeking to train physicians and leave a legacy of contribution to the community through scholarship and service.”
Read the story.