The Winston-Salem Monthly featured the work of Enrique Catana (pictured at left) and others who are bringing health to neighborhoods in and around Winston-Salem. The article points out the the Supporters of Health program began in 2012 when several Environmental Services workers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (WFBMC) were retrained to be community health workers. Community health workers are typically part of the communities they serve.
“By hiring them as community health workers, we were able to employ people who are closest to the solution and closest to the problems,” WFBMC’s Jeremy Moseley told the Monthly. The article continues:
Wake Forest Baptist initially converted four of their housekeeper jobs into Supporters of Health positions, and they now have eight total. Each “supporter” is assigned to low-income neighborhoods in the area (usually their own) where residents are more at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Together, they help their neighbors with things such as establishing primary care, access to medications, transportation to medical appointments, access to foods based on a patient’s particular diet, access to health insurance, and many other things that are social drivers that impact health. They also connect people to community resources such as Crisis Control and Salvation Army, among others.
“The supporters of health are a hybrid of community health workers and people who sort of triage community care,” WFBMC’s Teresa Cutts said in a recent interview. “They work primarily in underserved communities, helping people with needs like transportation, food, medication expenses, and other types of support associated with ‘social determinants of health.’ Their goal is to triage people to other resources, not just provide resources themselves.”
Photo: Winston-Salem Monthly