Health Care Services
Available, accessible, and affordable health care has been historically problematic as New Orleans residents evidence some of the poorest health outcomes in the nation. Orleans Parish is federally designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area. Our current endeavor is to build a community owned health center providing comprehensive and preventative health care services for low-income, working, uninsured and underinsured families of New Orleans East. With the nearest hospital currently a 30-minute drive away, the need for a permanent community owned health center is immediate and pressing.
In the process of returning and recovering from Hurricane Katrina, one of the situations we faced was the absence of healthcare. Before the hurricane, New Orleans East had 2 major hospitals, Methodist Hospital and Lakeland Medical Center. New Orleans East (New Orleans East, Village de l'Est, and Venetian Isle) had a population of 96,000, comprised of African-Americans, Anglo-Americans, and Asian-Americans. Our community of color and low-income residents experienced severe wind and flood damage during Katrina. At this point, 5 years after Hurricane Katrina, neither hospital has returned, leaving the community without any adequate health care facilities. *(Update: The City of New Orleans purchased the Methodist Hospital site on August 20, 2010, but it is not slated to open until 2013.) Although more than 60 percent of the population returned, the rest are impeded from doing so, especially the elderly and families with infants, due to the lack of sufficient healthcare in the area. The lack of healthcare has been extremely frustrating for the community. Therefore, we are in the process of developing a community owned health center. Being community owned, we will be able to determine when it will be opened and closed. Furthermore, we can also determine the method (as in language access and culture-appropriateness) and type of services that will be rendered by the clinic that would correspond to the needs of the population.
With no basic health services, we need to provide residents with immediate primary care, while concurrently planning for the permanent health facility. At the moment, temporary services for the pediatric population is provided by Children's Hospital, with Tulane University School of Medicine providing services for the adult and geriatric populations. Both clinics are linguistically and culturally appropriate and located within the community to provide accessibility and availability for medical services to the residents of New Orleans East and beyond. These temporary clinics will not only further MQVN CDC's mission of improving the quality of life for residents in New Orleans East, but will also provide much needed medical services to the community. Our goal is for the community members to take ownership of their health, and to remain empowered through knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of personal responsibility for their health and wellness. MQVN CDC, in partnership with Children's Hospital and Tulane Medical, is providing accessible, affordable, and available health care services, while ensuring that every resident is treated with dignity and respect. Our mission is to identify and eliminate the unique health disparities of the residents of New Orleans East and beyond. The residents will be provided safe, quality, culturally competent, comprehensive primary, and preventative health care services.
The Tulane Community Health Center in New Orleans East (NOELA) is a patient-centered medical home that serves a largely Vietnamese American community with limited access to care due to shortage of clinics and a lack of hospitals in the area. Vietnamese American patients identified by NOELA as having diabetes or abnormal blood glucose were invited to participate in the DEVA program. Focus group discussions were held to determine the successes and barriers to diabetes care within the Vietnamese American community. To assess the feasibility of the LHW Patient Education and Resource Program (PREP) to improve diabetes self-management and care quality, each participant in the DEVA program will be paired with an LHW who will assist the patient with diabetes control.
Bilingual LHWs received training in communication, patient privacy, and diabetes education from health professionals at NOELA. Based on themes identified in the focus group discussions, culturally competent educational materials in English and Vietnamese were distributed to assist LHWs in providing patients with education about diet, exercise, mental health, and community resources. The LHWs will communicate regularly with patients to facilitate diabetes self-management among program participants. LHWs will collaborate with physicians and medical office assistants (MOAs) from NOELA to provide on-going support for Vietnamese Americans with diabetes in the New Orleans East community to improve health status for these individuals.
MQVN CDC’s Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer Program (PAEDS)
Vietnamese women have the highest incidence of cervical cancer of any racial or ethnic group in the United States, five times higher than non-Hispanic Whites. These alarming rates combined with the absence of an intervention initiative have raised the issue of addressing and preventing cervical cancer among Vietnamese and Vietnamese American women.
In September 2008, MQVN CDC was granted $40,000 from the Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) through the REACH 2010-PATH initiative. This initiative focuses upon reducing disparities in breast and cervical health among Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian populations.
MQVN CDC will target 60 women (ages 18 to 65) from the Vietnamese American community in Village De L’Est. These women will be trained and educated on the epidemics of cervical cancer as well as the importance of screening and prevention methods through obtaining pap smears. With the consultation from Dr. Ky Quoc Lai and Mrs. Ngoc Bui from the Vietnamese Reach for Health Initiative (VRHI), and guidance from Mrs. Thoa Nguyen from the Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project (VCHPP), MQVN CDC will implement the first cervical cancer initiative in New Orleans for Vietnamese American women.
MQVN CDC’s Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer Screening Program (PAEDS) was launched in October 2008. The one-year initiative will be implemented through a Lay Health Workers program to disseminate health behavior information. Each participant will receive $80 incentives upon attending two small group sessions. Upon the completion of the initiative, MQVN CDC hopes to build greater capacity and national support for future implementation of health projects.
Post Intervention meeting for the Interevention Group with Lay Health Workers (LHW's)
LHW's Cam-Thanh Tran and Mary Tran answer questions community women have on Cervical Cancer
Younger Vietnamese American Women are also involved in MQVN CDC's PAEDS Program -- Julie Nguyen and Ngoc Thao Dang
LHW's Cam-Thanh Tran, Christina Wadhwani, Mary Tran, and Co Hoa Nguyen