WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), today announced a new population health initiative aimed at improving patient outcomes in underserved communities. The initiative is kicking-off during Walmart's Wellness Day at several Walmart locations throughout Kentucky. SHC's initiative features multiple demonstration programs working with local health systems and other healthcare settings across the country designed to close the gap in influenza vaccination rates, particularly among older patient populations in communities of color.
"Flu vaccination is one of the most important tools that we have in addressing population health," said Laura Lee Hall, PhD, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Sustainable Healthy Communities. "People of color and underserved populations, particularly those aged 65 years and over, are disproportionately impacted by chronic health conditions, which are made worse by influenza. Because of this, they are more likely to suffer life-threatening flu complications, including heart attack, stroke, increased frailty, loss of function, hospitalization and death."
SHC is planning to conduct several evidence-based demonstration projects in select markets throughout the county and in partnership with a variety of health systems and other healthcare settings located in Kentucky, Louisiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and New York City.
The demonstration programs are designed to create localized, sustainable, easy-to-implement influenza immunization models. Each location will identify a multi-disciplinary advisory group to guide the program and will require community participation, working closely with hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, places of worship and local community leaders and groups. These local advisory groups will aim to foster an environment of trust in the community to overcome flu vaccination barriers among racial and ethnic groups. By increasing influenza immunization rates in these communities, health systems will realize improved population health outcomes and overall wellness.
A large percentage of underserved older Americans live with chronic health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for serious flu-related complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza immunization rates among people of color are well-below public health goals. Key barriers to improving population health outcomes includes broader access to newer flu vaccine interventions that may provide greater protection for older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
SHC Demonstration Locations
Sustainable Healthy Communities kicks off its demonstration projects this fall with Walmart partners in Kentucky and Louisiana. Participation in Walmart's Wellness Day health fairs will provide an opportunity for physicians to reach underserved populations and communicate the benefits of flu vaccination. Additional demonstration projects will launch in October, including partnerships with non-profit health systems in Delaware and South Carolina and Federally Qualified Health Centers in New York City with others being planned.
About Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
Social determinants of health (SDOH), defined in Healthy People 2020 as where people live, learn, work, play, worship, and age, can be as powerful as genetics in determining risk for chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. For people of color and lower socioeconomic status, SDOH can result in barriers in access to health care, including preventive care and care for these life-threatening chronic health conditions. This extends to influenza vaccination, which plays an important role in overall wellness and preventing serious flu-related complications in people with certain chronic conditions, including heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.
About Vaccine Preventable Diseases
In the last century, the availability and use of vaccines has dramatically improved the health and well-being of adults and children by protecting against infectious diseases that once commonly caused illnesses, some of which were fatal or severely debilitating. Adult vaccines, including influenza immunizations are known to prevent illness, decrease morbidity and mortality, and lower costs of care. And yet, influenza immunization rates lag well below public health goals among the most vulnerable populations including older adults, with growing racial and ethnic disparities.
About Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC)
Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and is a pioneering healthcare information company that measures population health, provides actionable analysis to clinicians, health care systems, researchers, corporations and policy makers.
In 2016, a partnership was formed between Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC), Sanofi Pasteur, a leader in producing vaccines protecting against infectious diseases, and the QHC Advisory Group (QHC), dedicated to delivering cost effective and sustainable solutions to improving health care.
For more information, contact Dr. Laura Lee Hall at SHC: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Sustainable Healthy Communities