Using Resident Health Advocates to Improve Public Health Screening and Follow-Up Among Public Housing Residents, Boston, 2007-2008
Published Date:Dec 15 2010
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 8(1).
Promoting screening for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and dental disease, particularly among residents of public housing, is a key strategy for achieving the objectives of Healthy People 2010. This community-based participatory research study tested a resident health advocate (RHA) intervention in public housing to increase use of mobile screening and to assess postscreening follow-up care for people with positive screening results.
During the summers of 2007 and 2008, a mobile health unit screened residents at 4 housing developments for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes risk, and dental disease. In the first summer, at 2 intervention sites, RHAs used personal contacts and repeated flyers to recruit residents; 2 control sites received standard recruitment, which was to leave flyers with the development manager. In the second summer, the 2 control sites from the previous year became intervention sites. For both summers combined, we calculated the number of people at intervention and control sites who used the van and we examined rates of appointments made and kept for residents who had positive screening test results.
Screening rates were higher in the intervention condition compared with the control condition (relative risk [RR], 1.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-2.15). Approximately 65% of participants screened positive for at least 1 condition. The proportion of participants with screen-positive findings who had follow-up appointments increased from 15% in 2007 to 55% in 2008.
The use of RHAs increased participation in health screening among public housing residents and rates of follow-up medical visits for people with positive screening results.
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