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The African American Wellness Village in Portland, Ore
  • Published Date:
    Jun 15 2006
  • Source:
    Prev Chronic Dis. 2006; 3(3).
Filetype[PDF - 148.72 KB]


Details:
  • Document Type:
  • Description:
    More than 80% of African Americans in Oregon reside in the Portland metropolitan area; African Americans comprise 1.7% of the state's population. Although relatively small, the African American population in the state experiences substantial health disparities. The African American Health Coalition, Inc was developed to implement initiatives that would reduce these disparities and to promote increased communication and trust between the African American community and local institutions and organizations. One of these initiatives is an annual Wellness Week featuring an African American Wellness Village. The Wellness Village uses a model of cultural sensitivity to provide access to free health screenings, links between health care organizations and African American community members, and health education and information. The African American Health Coalition, Inc obtained a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 grant to sustain this programming. The Wellness Village is supported by five major sponsors; annual attendance has ranged from 700 to 900 participants. The African American Health Coalition's evaluation of the event indicates that more than 50% of respondents identify the Wellness Village as the only place that they receive health screenings. Participants with access to screenings elsewhere report that a culturally sensitive environment that inspires trust is the reason they prefer the screenings offered at the Wellness Village. Culturally sensitive health fairs such as the Wellness Village may play an important role in bringing preventive health screenings to African American communities. Collaboration between black and white health care providers is critical in this effort. Partnerships must be built at multiple levels, including institutions to provide financial resources and in-kind donations, community members to assist with outreach and recruitment, and health care professionals to conduct screenings and services.