At A Glance
More than 1,550 low-income Latinos in San Diego County, California, have increased access to chronic disease prevention programs to help them better manage and improve their health. From October 2014 to September 2016, Project Concern International (PCI) trained 205 community health workers (CHWs) to streamline referrals to clinicians who specialize in preventing chronic disease. Community presentations focused on preventing chronic diseases and reducing barriers to care faced by this population.
Public Health Challenge
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health disparities as differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. In San Diego County, some of the leading health disparities Latinos face include lack of health insurance, delays in care, and lack of access to health care compared to other ethnic groups, including Asians and Somalis (2012 San Diego County Health Status Reports). Death rates per 100,000 for Hispanics/Latinos are also more than 1.5 times higher in certain areas compared to San Diego County: 85.2 in National City vs. 41.9 for heart disease; 26.4 in Southeastern San Diego vs. 16.9 for stroke; 20.1 in Mid-City vs. 13.9 for diabetes; and 106.5 in National City vs. 71.6 for overall cancer (2013 SD County Community Profiles).
The PCI initiative focused on Hispanic/Latina women of reproductive age (15-44 years), with cancer, heart disease and stroke, and type 2 diabetes. PCI launched “Project ALCANCE” (Advancing Latina Chronic Disease Prevention through Awareness Networking, Collaboration, and Education). “ALCANCE” means “reach” in Spanish. “Project ALCANCE” focuses on training predominately Latina CHWs to connect patients with local organizations that can help them treat and even prevent common chronic diseases for free or of low cost. A CHW Leadership Academy helps prepare CHWs to be leaders, share health information in their community, and lead presentations about how Latinos can help prevent chronic diseases.