Community Health Advocacy Initiatives
The Community Health Advocacy Initiative of The MetroHealth System recognizes that our health and well-being are the result of more than just the health care we receive and the choices we make, but also the places and conditions under which we live, learn, work, and play.
The Initiative was designed to address health disparities and improve the health status of the residents of Cuyahoga County by taking action on the social determinants of health, in communities, in partnership with residents and other community institutions. One way this is being done is through implementation of the Community Engagement Process (CEP), a model developed by MetroHealth’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
CEP engages and empowers people to identify and take action on issues of health and well-being that are important to them. Key to the model is the formation of a community coalition with local residents as a driving force, joined by representatives from community organizations and institutions that have a stake in their community’s well-being. There are currently three distinct projects applying the CEP as a means to improve community health.
This project engages senior and disabled residents of Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Quarrytown property in Berea in identifying and addressing a health issue of importance to them and, by so doing, reducing social isolation. Residents have chosen to focus on healthy eating. A health coalition comprised of residents and representatives from community organizations serves as the leadership group, to guide and support the initiative. As a result, various programs and services have been implemented including on-site nutrition classes with cooking demonstrations, monthly healthy meals prepared and served by local university students, diabetes education classes, and development of a food resource guide, among other things. This program is expanding to another CMHA location.
The primary purpose of VIDA! is to encourage health and wellness in the local Latino community. A coalition comprised of residents, local Latina faith leaders, and content experts serves as the leadership group for this initiative. With an initial focus on healthy eating, a train-the-trainer curriculum has been designed to train Community Health Cooks. Using the skills of a local Latina chef, volunteers from Hispanic congregations are being trained as Community Health Cooks. This cadre of trained lay leaders will then extend the lessons of healthy cultural cooking practices throughout the community.
Falls Prevention Project
This project was designed to engage communities in Cuyahoga County in falls prevention activities, with an initial focus on seniors in the city of Brecksville. A falls prevention coalition was formed with residents and representatives from the city of Brecksville and other community organizations to serve as the leadership and planning group. A variety of falls prevention activities have been undertaken, including education and awareness activities, home safety events, distribution of home safety tools such as night lights and flashlights, and implementation of the Matter of Balance (MOB) program, an evidence-based program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. The program is being extended to other communities throughout Cuyahoga County. Learn more about this program.