Community Healthcare Navigator Project
Special Projects Fund
October 3, 2008
Disparities in access to health care place a significant burden on the economic, social, and health status of African Americans. African Americans disproportionately suffer from the effects of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and others. For example, they are twice as likely to die from diabetes and 30% more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than whites. Nearly 90% of people with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Because approximately 80% of African-American women are overweight or obese, they are at an especially high risk for diabetes. With NYHealth’s support, the National Urban League (NUL) implemented and evaluated “Remarkable Woman: That’s You!” a community-based model aimed at reducing obesity and diabetes among African-American women living in the Buffalo area.
The National Urban League (NUL) is one of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organizations. Its Health and Quality of Life department focuses on disseminating information about chronic and infectious diseases, mental and behavioral health, children’s health, and lifestyle risk factors.
More recently, it has focused on sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes education. NUL is currently examining environmental causes of childhood obesity and conducting a wellness tour using mobile screening vans. For this project, NUL will implement and evaluate a community health worker program via its Buffalo affiliate. A chief health worker will train 10 lay health workers who will provide services ranging from intensive case management, education, and outreach to approximately 1,000 community members. Clients receiving more intensive services will receive a comprehensive intake assessment followed by a personalized action plan. Goals—including those related to exercise and nutrition—will be set for each client, and a lay navigator will track these clients on a biweekly basis to provide encouragement, counseling, and assistance with scheduling and keeping appointments, and addressing any prescribed follow-ups or referrals.