AFAHO has worked in our target community for more than 10 years. In that time we have developed a keen understanding of the unique health challenges faced by those we serve. The most important factor contributing to good health in our communities is access to quality health care that incorporates an understanding of social determinants of health through a cultural lens.
We view health among our African and Caribbean clients within a psychosocial framework rather than a disease framework and as such, improving one’s health cannot be limited to doctors’ visits alone. Understanding psychosocial factors requires intentionality, and many clients need assistance to develop realistic plans for changing behavior, ensuring access to necessary resources and ultimately improving health outcomes.
This is the goal of the Community Wellness Clinic, staffed by a nurse practitioner from the community who is be able to spend the time needed to build trust, facilitate open and honest communication, and holistically serve our clients. Access to a culturally sensitive provider who understands the social, cultural, religious, economic and other factors that impact their access to and engagement in healthcare services is critical for hard-to-reach populations. Applied broadly these services can result in mitigation of health disparities and even lead to healthcare cost savings. We have seen medical providers unbale to diagnose and treat clients effectively because they lacked a full understanding of the clients’ circumstances. The Wellness Clinic is intentional about addressing this problem directly to help clients overcome the barriers they face to achieving positive health outcomes.