Heart Health Education in Arizona Expands

Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative launches the first of a series of training sessions leading to the creation of a new infrastructure for heart health education in Arizona
The Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative has begun a series of training sessions which will lead to the creation of a new infrastructure for heart health education in Arizona. The Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative is part of a nationwide campaign by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to reduce health disparities among minority populations by leveraging the talents of the nation’s community health workers, and creating “Strategic Champions” for heart health education through fostering partnerships among local agencies.
 
From July 30 through August 1, the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) (www.seahec.org), Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC) and the Arizona Community Health Outreach Worker’s Network (AzCHOW) will train community health workers from four Arizona counties to be master trainers for the NHLBI science-based curriculum, “Your Heart, Your Life: A Lay Health Educator’s Manual for the Hispanic Community Manual and Picture Cards (Su Corazón, su Vida: Manual del Promotor y Promotora de Salud).” Training will be held in Phoenix.
 
Each trainee then will train other community health workers from their home regions in Apache, Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties during the next year, giving their agencies the capacity to build community-based heart health education programs.
 
Agencies participating in the training include:
·       Apache County Public Health Services District – Springerville
·       Jewish Family and Children’s Service – Phoenix
·       Marana Health Center – Marana
·       The Pascua Yaqui Tribe –Tucson
·       Pima County Health Department – Tucson (Pima County)
·       Campesinos Sin Fronteras - San Luis
·       Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. – Somerton (Yuma County)
 
In September, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) will train a second cadre of community health representatives and other health professionals from ITCA’s 20 member tribes. They will administer NHLBI’s “Honoring the Gift of Heart Health: A Heart Health Educator’s Manual for American Indians.”
 
In April, the NHLBI/NIH awarded SEAHEC a grant to partner with MCHC, AzCHOW, ITCA, and the Arizona Prevention Research Center (AzPRC) (http://azprc.arizona.edu) at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health to address heart health disparities in Arizona’s Hispanic and American Indian communities. The 16-month project will create a team of master trainers for each curriculum and provide technical assistance to help them train more community health workers (CHW).
 
To support the implementation of CHW programs, the NHLBI developed science-based health education materials that are culturally appropriate, field tested and user-friendly for CHWs to use in the community or in a clinical setting.
 
SEAHEC, which is headquartered in Nogales, Ariz., is one of 11 organizations across the country to receive NHLBI funding. Supported activities include training and sustainable implementation strategies to expand the reach of the CHW Health Disparities Initiative. Funded communities include Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Colorado Springs and Denver, Colo.; Columbia, S.C.; Holyoke, Mass.; Kern County, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; Worchester, Mass.; the state of New Jersey and the Navajo Nation.
 
SEAHEC’s mission is to improve the recruitment, diversity, distribution and retention of culturally competent personnel providing health services in Arizona’s rural and medically-underserved communities. For more information about SEAHEC and the Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative, call Kathleen Gilligan, project coordinator for the Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative and SEAHEC coordinator for AzCHOW, 520-287-4722, email kgilligan@seahec.org or visit www.seahec.org
 
About the UA Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program
 
The Arizona AHEC Program is comprised of five strategically located regional centers and an administering home central office based at The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. Each regional center collaborates with the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy and the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; health-care agencies, K-12 and postsecondary institutions and community organizations, to coordinate and support activities that target workforce development to meet the needs of Arizona’s medically-underserved rural and urban populations. The five regional centers are: Southeast Arizona AHEC (SEAHEC) headquartered in Nogales, Ariz.; Western Arizona AHEC (WAHEC), in Somerton; Northern Arizona AHEC (NAHEC), in Flagstaff; Eastern Arizona AHEC (EAHEC), in Globe; and Greater Valley AHEC (GVAHEC) in Apache Junction. For more information, visit www.azahec.org
 
About the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
 
A component of the National Institutes of Health, NHLBI plans, conducts and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart, lung and blood diseases and sleep disorders. The institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov
 
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
 
The NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov