Small Group Counseling in Memphis Helps Motivate Low-Income Patients to Develop Healthy Behaviors
From 2001 to 2004, staff from the faith-based Church Health Center of Memphis tested and refined Prescription for Health, an intervention designed to deliver health behavior and motivational counseling to low-income, predominantly African-American clients at two primary care sites: a clinic and a prevention and wellness center.
When pilot testing indicated that a one-on-one, physician-led Prescription was not clinically, economically or operationally feasible within a primary care setting, project staff shifted to a small group model, which focuses on teaching patients self-management strategies and activating their own resources to cope with and prevent disease.
From April 2001 to December 2002, more than 1,500 people received individual Prescriptions for Health:
- Fifty-seven patients in the Church Health Center clinic.
- Some 1,500 members of the prevention and wellness center.
In 2003, staff administered small group versions of Prescriptions for Health to 2,792 prevention and wellness center members.
In October 2003, staff launched a small group version of Prescription in the primary care clinic for patients with diabetes.
Over the project period, about 46 resident physicians from the University of Tennessee and Methodist University Hospital in Memphis received training in the Prescription for Health process.