C.H.E.F.®’s Health Equity Partners™ Division Builds on Salishan Public Housing Success

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Health Equity Partners™ announced the next phase of its work at the Salishan Housing community in Tacoma, Washington with the establishment of its resident-based Health Advocates Program. Working in partnership, Health Equity Partners will be recruiting, training and supporting several residents of the Salishan Community as Health Advocates for their families, friends and neighbors.

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We have a long history of supporting efforts that seek to create an equal opportunity for health in Washington State, and are pleased to contribute to this important new initiative with New Salishan.

Health Equity Partners™, the division of Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.®) that strives to reduce health inequities through a powerful combination of advocacy, education, grant-making, and partnerships, announced the next phase of its work at the Salishan Housing community in Tacoma, Washington with the establishment of its resident-based Health Advocates Program. Working in partnership with the Tacoma Housing Authority, Tacoma Pierce County Public Health, the Kimi and George Tanbara Health Center, and the Salishan Community Association, C.H.E.F.’s Health Equity Partners will be recruiting, training and supporting several residents of the Salishan Community as Health Advocates for their families, friends and neighbors.

As Health Advocates, these eight natural leaders will increase the community’s capacity to plan and conduct health promotion activities; reduce child obesity by gradually changing community norms and expectations related to diet and physical activity; increase access to culturally appropriate health education and health care; and increase awareness of the programs and services available to Salishan residents. The ultimate goal is to help move residents away from high-cost hospital emergency rooms and toward healthier lives, with Salishan residents taking ownership of the process and being a driving force behind the program.

Established as an innovative, grassroots approach to address the problems found with low income individuals and families, the Health Advocates Program builds on a previous successful partnership that C.H.E.F. formed at Salishan when the Salishan Community Association, Tacoma Housing Authority and C.H.E.F. teamed up to create vegetable gardens, a community kitchen, zumba and hip-hop classes, as well as restoration of local walking trails. It is another example of C.H.E.F.’s ongoing work to reduce the risk factors related to chronic disease, reduce barriers to better health, and to promote healthy behavior among the most vulnerable of Salishan’s residents.

According to Kathy Burgoyne, PhD, Vice President of C.H.E.F.’s Health Equity Partners Division, "We have a long history of supporting efforts that seek to create an equal opportunity for health in Washington State, and are pleased to contribute to this important new initiative with New Salishan.” Burgoyne continued, “In working with this community for several years, C.H.E.F. has witnessed first-hand the tremendous positive impact that residents of the community have made on their own behalf and in the lives of others, and we look forward to launching the Health Advocates Program to help them achieve even greater future success."

Initiatives like the Health Advocates Program can have significant impact by lowering health care costs, increasing healthy choices, and improving the lives of those who have the greatest need. With 68% of its residents being non-white, including many refugee families, the Salishan Housing community faces numerous cultural, language, and educational obstacles. When combined with their reliance on families, friends, and neighbors, the need for a creative, culturally- sensitive approach is required to improve health care understanding and behavior.

About Comprehensive Health Education Foundation

Founded in 1974, Seattle-based Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.®) is a nationally known nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote health and quality of life through education. With a long history of innovation in bringing better health to individuals and communities, C.H.E.F.’s efforts today focus on eliminating health inequities through a powerful combination of advocacy, education, grant-making, and partnerships, as well as consulting. Whether assisting organizations in becoming more effective advocates for change as part of its Health Equity Partners™ division, or providing consulting through its MissionWise® division to help organizations better deliver services and become more sustainable, C.H.E.F. brings together foundations, government, nonprofits, and coalitions to create a social movement to eliminate health inequities. For information about C.H.E.F. and MissionWise, please visit http://www.chef.org and http://www.missionwise.org or call 1.800.323.2433.

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Michael Oxman
COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH EDUCATION FOUNDATION
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