On Wednesday March 15, 2015 twenty eight key public health professionals and community leaders gathered at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx to attend a workshop on how to engage communities to improve health outcomes.
Eleanore Larrier, the Chief Executive Officer and operator of the Bronx Community Health Network (BCHN) launched the event which was spearheaded by Program Manager Mike Hernandez. Ivan Juzang, President and Founder of the multi-million dollar business MEE, was the key workshop Presenter. Also in attendance were Sonia Rodriguez an Assistant Director at HHC, Tashi Chodon, Director of Programs (BCHN), Winifred MacQuaye (BCHN) and many others.
The BCHN is a not-for-profit organization and federally qualified Health Center that sponsors ten community and school based health centers. Their health centers are owned and operated by Montefiore Medical Center and the Acacia Network/ Promesa Systems, Inc. two Bronx institutions that are also well known for providing high quality medical and substance abuse care.
The workshop featured several high energy breakout sessions where attendees had the opportunity to role play and present best practices.
“It’s important for the providers to understand a client’s culture to improve community engagement.”
During these sessions attendees had the opportunity to utilize some of the methodologies presented during the workshop. Some groups successfully convinced clients to partake of positive life style changes that would improve their overall quality of life. While other groups were unable to overcome the client’s rebuttals against healthy eating, which included financial constraints, time constraints, taste etc… Mike Hernandez stated, “It’s important for the providers to understand a client’s culture to improve community engagement.”
Another attendee by the name of Annmarie, stated that ”To be more successful providers need to utilize established community based organizations (CBO’s).” The benefits of an unhealthful eating style are evident and need to be taken into account as we seek to improve health outcomes throughout Bronx Communities.
Charmaine Warren and Pastor Coleman of Lighthouse Ministries were in attendance and although they have been doing community outreach for many years they stated that the BCHN workshop was particularly helpful in terms of engaging youth of color. While our times are plagued with war, degradation, drugs, job loss, stress and uncertainty. It is beautifully refreshing to see that Mrs. Larrier and the BCHN team have taken the road less traveled and seeks to combat the health disparities in our Bronx community.