Whittier Street Health Center, a community health center in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, MA, runs a grant-funded, community-based model of diabetes care that brings best practices to the community by letting community members tell their own stories. Osagie Ebekonien, manager of quality assurance and performance improvement at Whittier Street recently spent some time with us, opening a window into the program that he manages. The program has the twin goals of improving access and improving clinical outcomes.
Whittier Street pays stipends to “health ambassadors” who live in a public housing development near the health center. The health ambassadors spread the message among their neighbors. This initial communication leads to increased attendance at health screenings sponsored by the health center. Once someone is identified as a person with diabetes, other aspects of the outreach program kick in.
The health ambassadors maintain contact, modeling healthy behaviors, and telling other patients about choices they’ve made that improve their health. It’s a health communication model built on storytelling.
(Read/listen to the full conversation after the jump)