The Health Trust’s Healthy Communities Initiative works to reduce health disparities though our programs and policy changes that seek to improve health outcomes for everyone in our community. We do this work by:
Providing Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
People who are most likely to develop a chronic disease such as diabetes often lack the resources to prevent the disease and to manage its symptoms and long term effects. For many, chronic disease can be debilitating and demoralizing; it is also expensive for the individual and our health care system as a whole. Fortunately, there are ways we can both prevent and manage chronic disease.
The Health Trust does this work by:
- Conducting health education, primarily using promotoras (peer educators) to provide readily accessible information in the local community.
- Providing evidence-based Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM) and Positive Self Management Workshops led by peers.
- Conducting HIV/AIDS prevention presentations in high schools and colleges.
- Providing HIV/AIDS Case Management Services, Housing Services and Nutrition Support Services to over 800 people in our community with HIV/AIDS
- Funding strategic grants that enhance the community component of the Chronic Care Model.
Promoting Healthy Families
The Health Trust is working to increase the capacity of families and communities to ensure that young children are healthy and prepared to succeed in school and in their lives. The Health Trust’s Family Resource Centers, funded by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County’s Learning Together Initiative, offer free programs and services including:
- School readiness – Developmental screenings, early literacy programs and art enrichment
- Nutrition and wellness – Oral health education, Zumba classes, sports skills development and garden programs
- Parent and family education – Positive parenting classes, financial literacy
- Information and community resources – Health insurance enrollment, benefit application assistance, referrals to other services
Supporting oral health services and community water fluoridation
A large number of Santa Clara County’s children have untreated tooth decay. Tooth decay can be painful and lead to loss of teeth and dental function. Pain from untreated dental disease can lead to eating, sleeping, speaking and learning problems in children which affect social interaction, school performance and quality of life. Tooth decay and other oral health problems are a result of a lack of good daily oral health habits, a lack of access to routine and preventative dental care (particularly in low-income communities and communities of color), and a lack of fluoridated water in much of San Jose and other parts of the county. To help address this problem, The Health Trust is:
- Conducting community-based oral health education for families.
- Enrolling children in dental insurance to provide them access to services.
- Operating the Children’s Dental Center to provide dental care services for 15,000 uninsured and underinsured children annually.
- Advocating for community water fluoridation; and developing a fundraising feasibility plan for water fluoridation.
Promoting Awareness of Root Causes
Root causes of health inequity are social and economic conditions that result in worse health outcomes for low-income and racial and ethnic groups. These conditions are present where people are born, live, grow, work and age and include poverty, education, housing and lack of diversity in the health workforce, just to name a few. The Health Trust builds on the work of our partners and addresses root causes through the following strategies:
- Raising awareness about health disparities and their root causes.
- Partnering with and funding the Public Health Department to analyze and present data that illuminate health inequities in Santa Clara County.
Supporting health care linkages
For many, health insurance does not ensure easy access to quality health care. Many factors, such as income and language barriers, prevent people from getting the care they need, even once they have insurance. We work to ensure people have insurance and access to the health care system. The Health Trust does this work by:
- Conducting outreach to and enrolling children in health care coverage.
- Providing patient navigation services to low-income Latino and Vietnamese families to help them access and effectively use their medical care.
- Promoting the use of the patient navigation model within social service organizations.
- Funding legacy partners to provide health care coverage and services to those who would otherwise not receive services.