Online Program

Using community health workers to address needs beyond the healthcare system: Connecting to community resources and building social support

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marci Aguirre, MPH, Community Outreach Department, Inland Empire Health Plan, San Bernardino, CA
Jessica Castillo, Health Navigator Program, Inland Empire Health Plan, San Bernardino, CA
In this session the Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) will discuss approaches to promoting healthy communities beyond the healthcare system, through the Health Navigator Program. In addition to teaching families how to navigate the healthcare system, the program connects families to essential community resources (ex. Food distribution, WIC, Head Start, violence counseling, parenting classes, programs for people with a disability, etc.). Many of these connections were urgently needed resources (above healthcare) and created lasting impact. This novel approach of addressing needs outside of healthcare is vital to promoting holistic healthy communities. When asked what the most meaningful connections made during our visits, many families report the non-health resources/referrals had the largest immediate impact. Addressing non-health related needs first, built rapport with families and created an open environment where they were willing and eager to learn about health. The Health Navigator Program hosts community classes on various topics of interest (nutrition, asthma, child and home safety, etc ). In addition to learning the information, these community classes offer the parents an opportunity to build relationships with other parents in their community and strengthen their social support system. This session will feature real life success stories from the IEHP Health Navigator Program to display non-traditional impact a health plan has made in helping families. Some of the topics will include how an HMO goes beyond the health care system, boosting parent's self esteem, family compliance, data collection, etc. We will also emphasis the importance of building community agency collaborations.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the design of the Health Navigator Program and the innovative methods used to address non-health needs. Explain how this model has worked well for a not-for-profit HMO health plan. Identify examples of non-health related community resources. Discuss real life success stories from the IEHP Health Navigator Program.

Keyword(s): Community, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am part of the team that planned, implemented, and now evaluate the Health Navigator Program at Inland Empire Health Plan. Using the Community Health Worker model we designed and modified what would work best in an HMO environment. This program targets specific populations who have clear misunderstandings or underutilization of the healthcare system and uses education and community connection through a home visitation model to enable real behavioral change.
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.