Kenneth Barr

Outreach Program to Provide Holistic Health Education and Awareness to Diverse Populations

In the fall of 1997, the City of Fort Worth embarked upon an innovative population-based approach to meet the health needs – including breast cancer awareness – of 480,000 individuals. The outreach teams .were divided into twelve neighborhood .districts. Nurses, social workers, health educators, and outreach workers were employed to provide prevention, education, and awareness programs to the neighborhoods.

Since the emphasis of the program is upon community involvement and input, the health outreach initiative is designed to meet people where they live, work and play – and to address the specific concerns of various populations. The plan is to have ongoing events and programs as described below.

Race for the Cure

The health department staff has collaborated with agencies that provide screening programs. Ten thousand women received educational and nutritional information during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Schools and Youth Groups

"Do It For Me Mom" in cooperation with the health department staff provides two hours of health education on breast and cervical cancer and self-breast exam awareness. Educational presentations have been expanded through the Young Men’s Christian Association, Boys & Girls Club, Girl Scouts, and Fort Worth Independent School District.

Mother’s Day

The public health department collaborated with community groups on promoting mammograms for Mother’s Day. Four sites .provided education and mammograms, and 150 women received screening.

Volunteer Health Promoters

The Congregational Health Promoter Program provides participatory training to social agencies, apartment complexes, and faith-based communities. Volunteers are trained to act as health promoters who .help the group or congregation to identify health concerns. The health department provides the latest information to members and acts as a resource.

Bilingual Health Information

The city has assisted in providing bilingual health information to minorities. Materials have been disseminated at health fairs, churches, beauty shops, day care associations, and work sites.

City-Wide Wellness Fair

The City of Fort Worth provides a wellness fair where women may obtain mammograms.

Annual Hispanic Wellness Fair

The first Annual Hispanic Wellness Fair .in June 1999 offered free screening mammograms with private physician referrals. The outreach staff provided translation; 30 women were screened, and 9 needed diagnostic mammograms. The staff assisted the women in accessing needed follow-up services.

Annual Afro-American Health Fair

The first Annual Afro-American Health Fair will be held February 2000. The outreach staff will assist in disseminating brochures and flyers. The City of Fort Worth Public Health Department is collaborating with the University of North Texas School of Public Health to reach the underserved.

A Coalition of Agencies

As Fort Worth moves into the new millennium, the health department is exploring the feasibility of forming a coalition of all agencies to determine where gaps of service continue to exist. Screening programs can save lives, and agencies can collaborate to bring these services to the citizens of Fort Worth.

Continued Emphasis on Outreach

The outreach staff provides a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the .community. With their success based .upon education, the outreach staff will .continue to serve as a conduit to assure .that citizens receive needed services.

For more information, please contact:

Letha Aycock
Interim Director
City of Fort Worth Public Health
telephone: 817/871-7204