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Healthography and the U.S. Gulf Region – A Transdisciplinary Public Health Systems Approach in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Communities living on our country’s Gulf Coast persistently face natural and manmade disasters, the impact of those disasters on physical and mental health well-being, and longstanding health disparities specifically related to chronic health conditions such as cancer and asthma as well as birth outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight. The region is also affected by historical environmental contamination exacerbated by natural and manmade disasters. While progress has been made in documenting these challenges, the solutions to date have employed narrow, silo-driven designs, often lacked a community-engaged approach, and have failed to produce sustainable ecological, system-driven solutions.
The overall goal of this session is to present an evidence-based, sustainable community resilience model which deploys a public health systems approach to strengthen core health infrastructure and capacity in an area of our country plagued by a lack of access to quality primary and specialty care. The model is realized by the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program (GRHOP), which targets vulnerable communities affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in a 17-county/parish region in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The GRHOP was developed jointly by BP and the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee as part of the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement. The Outreach Program is supervised by the court, and is funded with $105 million from the Medical Settlement.
Panelists will explore the GRHOP’s focus on frontline health care capacity building through four integrated community-based projects: the Primary Care Capacity Project, Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Project, Environmental Health Capacity and Literacy Project, and Community Health Workers Training Project. The primary care project uses the patient-centered medical home approach to advance the delivery of integrated healthcare services in community health centers, particularly Federally Qualified Health Centers. Key areas of emphasis include strengthening quality of care, enhancing patient-referral relationships for specialty care, and improving business operations. Investments are informed by comprehensive community health assessments to ensure the supported services are tailored to community needs and assets. GRHOP also supports the provision of immediate and long-term mental and behavioral health services to families and school children in the 17 county/parish region. Working closely with community health centers in each of the targeted states, the program trains health providers to augment much needed mental and behavioral health care. The environmental health project trains primary care physicians and other frontline health care providers using both case-based studies and expert consultations. Bolstered by a regional specialty referral network through the Association of Environmental and Occupational Clinics, frontline clinicians are able to address persistent community concerns regarding exposure to environmental contaminants. An emerging scholars Academy targeting public high school students complements the environmental health education portfolio. GRHOP’s community-based participatory approach is exemplified by the training and placement of community health workers, linking local neighborhood assets and needs with strengthened primary care capacity. Augmenting this cadre of public health leaders are a series of funded partnerships with community organizations.
Panelists will discuss how the program’s transdisciplinary nature and its approach to sustainability and resilience consider the Gulf Coast’s unique social and physical environments. Specifically, the session will examine how the GRHOP’s deliberate embedded nature results in complementing existing efforts by the local public health community and augments the Affordable Care Act in health disparate, disaster-prone communities in the U.S. Gulf Region.
Session Objectives: Describe the overall goal of the GRHOP and its systems approach to strengthening public health infrastructure and community resilience.
Examine how a transdisciplinary public health program can augment the Affordable Care Act, impacting access to care in the U.S. Gulf Region.
Discuss evidence-based strategies to build primary care capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Define the roles of the public health community in responding to the influences of geography, social and physical environments
along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by: APHA-Special Sessions
Endorsed by: Injury Control and Emergency Health Services, Community Health Planning and Policy Development
Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)
Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)