East County Community Health
We operate a team of community-based cultural navigators, community leaders, and health educators in East Multnomah County.
People in Rockwood have a life expectancy that is 10 – 15 years shorter than the rest of Multnomah County.
We have some of the highest rates of obesity, hypertension, heart disease, mental illness and diabetes. Over half are food insecure. Although new clinics are recently opened, our neighbors are not accessing healthcare resources nearly enough to improve their health.
We are working to address needs as expressed by the groups (government, philanthropy, business, health, faith) that want to get in touch with our neighbors to learn from them, but cannot due to various barriers.
We connect our neighbors to the systems and everybody benefits.
The Community Health Worker Model
The Community Health Worker model is an approach to public health intervention that flips the traditional model of government workers (generally highly competent in the dominant culture) who would “go out” into communities where they have no relationships.
They would then attempt to provide solutions that are sometimes ineffective or even harmful – not to mention dampening agency that could arise in those communities to craft and direct the decisions that affect them.
About Our Community Health Workers
Our CHWs are identified community leaders within varying geographic or cultural groups. They are also called promontores de salud, Traditional Health Workers, Doulas, or Navigators.
They perform a variety of formal and informal functions, and these vary depending on a wide variety of factors:
- geography, cultural affiliation
- level of poverty
- environmental health factors
Studies show that when CHW’s are active and funded, health outcomes improve at a fraction of the cost of the hospital system.
When our state’s health authority needed to do contact tracing to stop the spread of COVID-19, they used our team to reach out to and coach our neighbors.
When a city government wanted to let our neighbors know about a major new construction project – and get their input – they used our team to connect five separate cultural groups.
When our area was hit with COVID, our team sourced and distributed 300,000 meals, 3,700 doses of vaccines and boosters, and over 63,500 KN95 masks.
To learn more, to engage our team, or to join our group of CHW’s, visit the East County Community Health website.