181772 Resident Health Advocates on the Move: Community-based approach to promoting health screening in public housing developments

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jo-Anna L. Rorie, CNM, MSN, MPH , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Tegan C. Evans, MPH , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Alan C. Geller, MPH, RN , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Adriana L. Smith, MPH , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Daisy De la Rosa, MPA , Chronic Disease Prevention & Control Division, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Lee Strunin, PhD , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Daniel R. Brooks, DSc , Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Community intervention strategies are needed to increase the number of individuals who receive preventive services and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with racial and ethnic health disparities. Promoting screening for diabetes and hypertension is a key strategy for achieving the objectives of Healthy People 2010.This is particularly true in high-risk areas such as public housing. Objectives: This study tests a Resident Health Advocate (RHA) intervention in public housing developments to increase health screening visits on the Boston Public Health Van and to measure the number of appointments with primary care physicians kept by participants with positive screening results. Methods: This trial involved four housing developments with paired characteristics. At two intervention sites, RHAs recruited residents with fliers and personal contact. At the control sites, fliers were left with the development manager as this was the standard procedure. The Health Van measured blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes risk, and oral health. We calculated the number of people at intervention and control sites who used the van, their presumptive diagnoses, and referral-seeking practices with PCPs and dentists. Results: RHA outreach strategies led to increased use of the van among residents at intervention sites; 100 residents came from intervention sites compared to 47 residents from the control sites (RR=1.37, CI=0.98, 1.92). We also discovered problems residents encountered when making appointments with community health centers and keeping their appointments. The results of this research will be used to improve the RHA training process and inform other projects that enlist community health workers.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session the participant will be able to: 1) Describe the components of a successful Resident Health Advocate Program. 2) Identify the role of the RHA in decreasing health disparities. 3) Discuss the importance of the RHA intervention in disease prevention and promoting wellness among public housing residents.

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Public Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project manager for the RHA program for over a year. I oversee the RHA training and management as well as the van screening research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.