Residents of North Palm Springs Neighborhood Face Challenges Accessing Health Care, Says Loma Linda University Health Assessment

The results of the Desert Highland Gateway Community Health Assessment, which will be discussed at a community meeting set for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, identified a number of health issues faced by residents of the largely underserved area.

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Palm Springs, CA (PRWEB) August 04, 2014

Residents of a neighborhood in the northern part of Palm Springs are dealing with significant health and health care affordability and access issues, according to a community health assessment funded by the Desert Healthcare District and led by Loma Linda University Health.

The results of the Desert Highland Gateway Community Health Assessment, which will be discussed at a community meeting set for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, identified a number of health issues faced by residents of the largely underserved area. A survey of residents shows, among other things, that:

-- 38 percent use the emergency room as the usual place of care (the national average is 3 percent).
-- 1 in 3 could not afford dental care, and half are unable to afford their prescriptions.
-- About every 2 in 3 community members are affected by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
-- About every 2 in 5 community members are affected by incarceration, which subsequently affects their health.

The Desert Highland Gateway Community is located on the north side of Palm Springs, bordered by Tramview Road to the north, Highway 111 to the west, San Rafael Road to the south, and Indian Canyon Road to the east. The community is made up of about 480 homes, with majority of the residents classified as low-to-middle income, and predominantly African-American or Hispanic.

Stakeholders, including the local hospital, clinics, and food distribution centers have expressed concern and interest in assisting this isolated community and have been challenged over the years by the lack of valid information. Little was known about the community’s strengths and areas for improvement or of the community’s health status and how residents are accessing health care to address their medical needs. Similar to the place-based initiative conducted in the city of Desert Hot Springs by the Desert Healthcare District in 2004, the District commissioned and funded this study, using a model engaging neighborhood community health workers. The assessment was conducted by the community health workers, trained by Loma Linda University Health, in partnership with El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center.

"The collaboration of local neighborhood community healthcare workers, El Sol, and Loma Linda University Health, has allowed the Desert Healthcare District to better understand the health needs and community resources of the Desert Highland community. Hearing these needs expressed in the residents' own voices is compelling. The study includes a guide to help the District and our community partners bring the proper resources into the community that will have a real impact on the residents health today and for years to come," said Dr. Michael Solomon, board president of the Desert Healthcare District.

The authors of the assessment hoped to determine the predominant health conditions in the community, how community members access health care, and what community resources are available and needed.

The community health assessment suggests a number of recommendations to address the underlying cause and effects of the issues, including organizing a community wellness community, starting a health navigator program, and developing job placement and substance abuse programs.

The community meeting is set for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 Tramview Road, Palm Springs, Calif., 92262. For additional information, call 760-323-8271.

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About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals and more than 800 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."


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