Bridging Health Gaps Through Community Care
Posted: February 18, 2021
North Carolina Asks Curamericas Global to Continue Leading Statewide Community Health Worker Program During COVID-19 Pandemic
Raleigh-based global health nonprofit’s work extended after leading Community Health Worker initiative that has resulted in 87K referrals since August 2020; focus will continue to be on health disparities of the coronavirus and direct impacts to local Latinx and African American communities
Raleigh, N.C., February 2021: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has announced that it is extending its partnership with Raleigh-based Curamericas Global to continue life-saving work through the state’s Community Health Worker Program. Since August 2020, the global health nonprofit has led, trained and guided more than 200 Community Health Workers across 26 counties to reach North Carolina’s most vulnerable and historically marginalized communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are honored that the state has continued to entrust our organization with the responsibility of executing this community health model to reach North Carolina’s forgotten families who have fallen outside of the health system,” said Andrew Herrera, Executive Director of Curamericas Global. “The successes we’ve seen within the communities where these nonprofits and Community Health Workers operate have been life-changing for thousands, who had nowhere to turn when the global pandemic struck.”
A COMMUNITY HEALTH APPROACH
The Community Health Workers assist North Carolinians with COVID-19 related needs, such as connecting people to medical and social support resources like diagnostics testing, primary care, nutrition assistance, behavioral health services and financial assistance. Community Health Workers will also provide North Carolinians with COVID-19 vaccine support, including access, information and reminders.
Through Curamericas’ community health approach, NCDHHS has learned a new model of continuing equitable outreach to communities who are often left behind. Grassroots organizations and long-time community leaders have joined together instead of competing, to reach the often forgotten who do not have easy access to health systems, clinics, resources or support.
One example of the disparity is North Carolina’s Hispanic and Latino communities, which make up ten percent of the state’s population; however, they account for 39-percent of North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases. Curamericas and Community Health Workers have identified this health gap and how to address it. Approaches have included employing bilingual workers who can effectively communicate with individuals, providing personal protective equipment, sharing culturally acceptable information and connecting them with resources like free COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine education.
“Community Health Workers are not behind a desk, they are in the community, of the community and for the community,” said Herrera. “They are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the communities they serve – and we’ve leveraged this dedicated workforce, cutting down on the need to hire, train and build cultural competency.”
SUCCESS IN NUMBERS
As of December, Curamericas and the nonprofits it works with have been able to directly facilitate services for more than 80,000 North Carolinians. In the latter half of 2020, Curamericas facilitated the delivery of 8,771 thermometers, 334,000 disposable masks, 33,600 washable face coverings, 4,300 disposable gowns, 4.015 gallons of hand sanitizer and soap, 21,800 pairs of gloves, 6,121 KN95 masks and 12,840 containers of sanitizing wipes to support local communities.
Curamericas has helped to establish a bridge of communication from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to the local communities, which has resulted in major cost-saving measures to our society. As Community Health Workers continue to address the fundamental social driverss of health, the program expects to see an exponential ripple effect, driving down even more reliance on emergency room visits, leading to even more cost savings to the state’s health system.
A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
From the beginning of this partnership, Curamericas has been focused on designing itself out of the system. One way to do this is by ensuring lasting relationships between local health departments and local community based organizations.
“It is our hope that at the end of this, local nonprofits will work side-by-side with health departments and state agencies, like NCDHHS, to delivery precision care to the most vulnerable,” said Herrera.
ABOUT CURAMERICAS GLOBAL
Curamericas Global, a nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, seeks to partner with underserved communities around the world to make measurable and sustainable improvements in their health and wellbeing. Through data-driven methods and community-centered solutions, Curamericas Global aims to see a world free of suffering from treatable and preventable causes.
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