Closing the Gap Program
At Big Bend AHEC, we forge strong relationships with our community partners to create and implement community-based health promotion projects and initiatives. Our programs provide underserved communities, rural areas and individuals at risk for health disparities with important information and we provide the resources so they can make informed health decisions.
Since June of 2014, Big Bend AHEC has been a provider of the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health & Health Equity Closing the Gap Grant Program. Big Bend AHEC’s program model is centered on training Community Health Workers (CHW) in Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor Counties to provide free biometric screenings to ethnic minority individuals residing in these 3 counties. Additionally, we provide free health education classes and healthy cooking demonstrations. The free health screenings include:
- Blood Pressure
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Tobacco Referrals
This program is designed to assist individuals that may lack access to primary care, are uninsured, or are underinsured so that they can learn more about their risks for developing chronic disease and certain cancers.
Big Bend AHEC is a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-waived Laboratory, and provides extensive training to our Community Health Workers on topics including: customer service, health promotion, health education, CNA skills, bloodborne pathogens, and motivational interviewing.
Why Community Health Workers (CHW)?
CHWs are community members who work almost exclusively in community settings and promote health among groups that have traditionally lacked access to adequate care. The roles of CHWs are to provide culturally appropriate health education; assure people get the services they need; give information about illnesses and how to prevent them; and teach the basics about common health problems.
Documented benefits include improved health outcomes and lower costs; reduction of emergency room and hospital visits; decreased barriers to medical care; increased trust between clients and the health care delivery system; and timely use of services and better compliance.
For more information, contact:
Wynton Geary Sr., MPH, CCHW
Health Promotions Manager
Tarre Stanley Jr., MPH
Health Promotions Specialist
Office: (850) 224-1177
Office Cell: (850) 728-0417