Health People NY/USA

Linked with Chris Norwood – USA.

Health People is unique in the United States as a groundbreaking peer organization which helps people from low-income communities become leaders to effectively fight chronic ill health. Started in 1990 as a women’s AIDS prevention and support program, Health People has grown to provide a full range of AIDS services for men, women and families, as well as to start a large community asthma program, New York’s first diabetes peer educators program and a community smoking cessation program … and: The Health People Pledge: I promise to be responsible to myself, my family, and my community. I promise to fight AIDS-asthma-diabetes-smoking with compassion, determination and love. (Homepage).

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Address: Health People: Community, Preventive Health Institute, 552 Southern Blvd., 2nd Floor, Bronx, New York 10455, USA;
Contact, map and how to go there.

About: “The mission of Health People: Community Preventive Institute, a peer-based organization, is to empower and train residents of communities overwhelmed by chronic disease to become leaders and educators in effectively preventing ill health, hospitalization and unnecessary death”

HEALTH PEOPLE: COMMUNITY PREVENTIVE HEALTH INSTITUTE (formerly Health Force) is a groundbreaking peer training, prevention, and support organization based in the South Bronx. Started in 1990 as a women’s AIDS prevention and support program, Health People has grown, using its peer-education model, to provide a full range of HIV/AIDS services for men, women and families, as well as to start a large community asthma program, New York’s first diabetes peer educators program and a community smoking cessation program. Health People’s Jr. Peer programs include teens who are mentors for younger children, teens who teach asthma attack prevention and teens teaching tobacco cessation. In all its programs, Health People has successfully utilized its original model of training the people most affected by disease to become peer educators to help others and advocate for the community. Health officials from 5 continents, as well as from all over the United States, have come to Health People’s South Bronx offices to learn more about starting these effective, empowering programs in their own communities.

Ms. Chris Norwood, a prize-winning author and healthcare advocate, started Health People in 1990 as a women’s AIDS peer education program after breaking the story in Ms. Magazine that women with AIDS were routinely undercounted, and their deaths attributed to other causes. The program, then called Health Force, began in a single room at Bronx Community College. In March 2004, Health People, having grown and developed into a multi-faceted agency, spun off from CUNY, its former fiscal sponsor, to become an independent nonprofit organization. Today, the program has 46 on staff and serves some 3,000 people a year.

Current Accomplishments

Health People’s success has received international and local recognition, and has been documented by both external evaluation and our own outcomes measures. For example, outside evaluation shows that children in our asthma community case management reduced their school days by 50% and their emergency room visits by 60%; that People with AIDS in our Access-to-Care program significantly increase their adherence to primary care and taking needed medications and that women who take our six-session HIV prevention course significantly increase their personal HIV prevention. Our own outcomes show that diabetics in our most recent diabetes peer training had an average 30% blood sugar decrease and steadily lost weight. And, very important, major outside evaluation shows that kids in our mentoring program are significantly less attracted to drugs than other young adolescents living in similarly difficult circumstances.

Our peer educators are valued for the knowledge they have to contribute to the fight for good health and have regularly received scholarships to International AIDS Conferences to present on subjects ranging from peer-delivered women’s HIV prevention to family services. The peer who initiated the Junior Mentoring Program received the Mayor’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award in 1995 and in 1999 the National Mentoring Partnership named it one of 16 Model Mentoring Programs. Health People Sr. Coordinator Barbara Williams, a former peer educator, was appointed to the NY State AIDS Advisory Council by Governor Pataki and, in 2000, Health People founder Chris Norwood received a special award from the NY State Health Commissioner for her “outstanding contribution” to peer-delivered services.

Coalition and Collaborations

Health People is a unique community agency whose success is key to improving the health of thousands of people in the South Bronx. We work on joint projects with leading health institutions, including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and the Bronx Community Health Network. Our role as an integral health mainstay for the community has been recognized by the New York State Department of Health, who selected us as the lead agency the vital community-wide coalition, South Bronx Diabetes and Heart Disease Coalition.

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