5th Ward residents get important health info

October 8, 2009 10:50:08 AM PDT
Dozens of workers from the Houston Health Department are making their way around the Fifth Ward.They're passing out information, aimed at helping residents better manage their health and well being. This is not a new project. In fact, the city has been doing this for the past three years. Their main focus is to get into neighborhoods they believe are underserved.

About 250 workers will be canvassing the area today and tomorrow, hoping to visit about 7,500 residents. The initiative is part of a program called AIM, which stands for Assessment Intervention and Mobilization. It's a way for the health department to evaluate and improve a person's ability to manage their own healthcare.

Workers will be taking surveys of residens' critical needs, as well as linking them up with services in and outside the area. Health officials say past surveys have shown a definite need.

"We found out that there is a pattern. People have trouble accessing medications. They are about to run out or have run out," said Porfirio Villarreal with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. "They have trouble accessing transportation. They can't get to their appointments, including medical appointments. Some of them know that they qualify for benefits, but they are not accessing those benefits, so we want to find out we link them to those resources."

Health workers will also be talking to community leaders to find out their overall need of the community. The canvassing portion of this project will end tomorrow, but workers will spend the next couple of weeks trying to link residents with the services they need.

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