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Gulf Coast Clinics’ Work Addressing Community Conditions Featured in Yes! Magazine

The first Community-Centered Health Home (CCHH) clinics in the nation are profiled in a new Yes! magazine article that showcases the promise of putting this model into action.

Five community health clinics in the Gulf Coast are embracing their role as leaders in improving health outcomes across their communities, thanks to a visionary demonstration project by the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). Eric Baumgartner, LPHI’s former Senior Community Health Strategist who initiated the Gulf Coast CCHH project and was an early champion of the model, explains in the article, “The clinic, which is typically a service delivery organization, has a responsibility to use its position of influence within the community to act as partner in improving the social, environmental, and economic conditions that determine health.”

The Yes! article highlights the work of two CCHH health centers– Daughters of Charity (DOC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Escambia Community Clinics, Inc. (ECC) in Pensacola, Florida. At the start of the ECC project, employees spoke with local residents about their health-related concerns. Projects and partnerships emerged to build a school playground, open an in-school medical clinic, improve living conditions, and provide job training.

ECC has now transformed its vision of the clinic’s role in the Pensacola community to include improving quality of life, says Chandra Smiley, executive director of the ECC clinic network. “Our goal is to help fix things that get us sick in the first place, like substandard housing, unhealthy food, and lack of opportunity,” she says in the article. “I don’t want this to be just another community clinic; I want it to be the community’s clinic.”

New Orleans’ DOC clinic has partnered with a mobile vegetable market, as well as other community groups to address job retraining, fair wages, predatory businesses, and parks and bike paths. The clinic leaders “feel that their clinic for the first time is actively preventing disease. Patients and community now view them more favorably,” the Yes! article says.

LPHI’s CCHH Demonstration Project is gathering evidence from these and its three other pilot sites to determine how healthcare organizations can become active partners in community prevention, while still providing high-quality treatment. If the project is successful, it could help influence and redefine the role of community clinics across the country.

Efforts to grow CCHHs are also under way in North Carolina and Texas. For more information about these efforts and CCHHs in general, please visit the Prevention Institute’s website. For more information about LPHI's work in this arena, see its new report on early findings from the Gulf Coast Demonstration Project.

LPHI’s CCHH Demonstration Project is part of the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program, a series of integrated, five-year projects designed to strengthen healthcare in Gulf Coast communities. The program is funded by the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement which was approved by the U.S. District Court in New Orleans on January 11, 2013.

Click here to view the article.

*statement released jointly from Prevention Institute and LPHI*