Journey to Better Health works to build the capacity of faith-based organizations to improve the health of their congregants. This is accomplished through two strategies:
- Empowering congregants to manage their chronic disease
- Reducing hospitalizations by addressing social determinants of health.
Through a covenant-inspired collaborative effort with faith-based organizations in Howard County (beginning with zip codes 21044 and 21045), Healthy Howard focuses on prevention and management of chronic diseases by building on the strengths of each individual organization. We empower congregants by:
- Providing screenings to help identify hypertension, pre-diabetes, and obesity;
- Presenting evidence-based programming on nutrition, exercise and health at convenient locations;
- Facilitating group health coaching to build long term community support among congregants applying behavioral changes; and
- Developing a Member Care Support Network (MCSN) to provide social support and other referral sources to hospitalized congregants through the use of Community Companions.
The Member Care Support Network is a partnership group consisting of trained volunteer Community Companions from local congregations, doctors offices, Healthy Howard’s Community Care Team (CCT), and area hospitals. Together, the Network supports individuals’ health needs and builds a foundation of community health to work with congregants upon admission to the hospital. After the CCT conducts individualized social needs assessments, hospitalized congregants are paired with a Community Companion from their faith community. These companions work closely with resident to provide social and emotional support to help reduce frequency of hospitalizations. Additionally, doctors are engaged to help identify patients requiring chronic disease education, self-management classes, and other strategies to prevent disease progression.
In June 2016, the Journey to Better Health and the CCT transitioned from Healthy Howard to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH). For information contact Naa Minnoh or Tara Butler at the hospital.