Celebrating America’s Public Housing Health Centers: How health centers are working to comprehensively address the residents of public housing

Public Housing Health Centers Day Podcast – Q&A with Kristine Gonnella | Music: www.bensound.com

This year we are celebrating all of the innovative ways health centers create better lives for their communities. Today we are highlighting Public Housing Health Centers, health centers located either on or immediately accessible to public housing developments. Kristine Gonnella, Director of Technical Assistance and Consultation at Community Health Partners for Sustainability, will be talking today about how Public Housing Health Centers are innovators in community health – how they work to provide high-quality, accessible health care for residents of public housing communities.

kristineGuest contributor: Kristine Gonnella

Today health center advocates from across the country are joining together to celebrate the incredible work of Public Housing Health Centers. This day is designated to recognize and celebrate the services and contributions of our health centers located in or immediately accessible to public housing. These health centers provide access to affordable, high-quality, and cost-effective health care and work collaboratively with their local housing authorities and other key stakeholders to meet the unique and varied needs of residents of public housing.

Public housing health centers, which serve over 200,000 residents of public housing annually, tend to serve patients who are more likely to present with chronic health issues. Last year Community Health Partners for Sustainability reviewed data from the Uniform Data System (UDS) and found that from 2012-2014 public housing health centers, compared to federally qualified health centers overall, saw more patients suffering from asthma, HIV, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Although their patients tend to face greater health challenges, public housing health centers, by providing their patients with high-quality care, connecting them with valuable
support services, and removing the burden of finding transportation to travel to access care, are making strides at impro
ving these disparities. Public housing health centers provide a wide range of services that go beyond the walls of traditional primary and preventive care – services like smoking cessation programs, lead screening and abatement, financial counseling to help residents manage their health care expenses, linkage to care coordinators, and legal assistance, just to name a few. They simultaneously provide their patients with quality health care services while forming strong partnerships in the community to make the connections patients need for a whole host of other services that impact their patients’ health and well-being.

We use today as an opportunity to call attention to the continued need to identify and address the social determinants of health – factors like socioeconomic status, income, employment, education, and social support networks – all of which have such a profound impact on residents of public housing. We must link our residents to services and provide the necessary support systems needed to improve these health disparities and create healthier, happier, and more fruitful lives for these individuals and families.

For more information on how to support the intersection of health care delivery a
nd residents of public housing, please contact Community Health Partners for Sustainability. We help to build and sustain services in partnership with your local housing authority and other housing stakeholders to meet the needs of these often isolated and underserved communities. For more information or to inquire about our free one-on-one consul  tation services, please contact Kristine Gonnella at kristine@chpfs.org.

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