|Management Academy teams continue to make things happen|
Paula Black, a personal health services administrator in North Carolina's Gaston County Health Department, emailed us recently. "The Highland Health Center is right on schedule--we are currently finalizing the clinic designs with the architects and beginning to get a few quotes for large equipment. We anticipate our Grand Opening summer 2010."
Black was a member of a community team that attended the Institute's Management Academy for Public Health (MAPH), a nine-month program combining onsite retreats with team "homework" to complete a business plan addressing a local public health need.
The Highland Community in the city of Gastonia is underserved with no clinical practices and a lack of convenient public transportation. One-third of its population uninsured. Health indicators (teen pregnancy, low birthweight babies, infant mortality, diabetes, heart disease, and STDs) are all at above average rates.
The MAPH team researched and developed a business plan for the creation of the Highland Health Center to provide primary care, obstretrics/gynecological care and family planning, urgent care, radiology, and behavioral health sciences.
The team estimated that non-urgent emergency room visits would decrease by 10%. Screenings in the plan would also help reduce those poor health indicators.
"MAPH gave our team the tools and resources to create the business plan that will work and make our project successful, while bringing access to health care to an underserved area of Gaston County," says Black. MAPH promotes collaboration, and Black points out that in addition to the Health Department, Gaston Family Health Services, Inc., Gaston Memorial Hospital, faith-based organizations, the Department of Social Services, and elected officials have also been part of the process.
Success breeds success. This year another Gaston County Health Department team is eyeing a blue ribbon for its MAPH business plan. The Making a Successful Teen (M.A.S.T.) Program will provide family planning services, prenatal care and education, and child development education for Gaston County teens.
Core clinical services will include pre-conception counseling and family planning services, pregnancy testing and counseling, and comprehensive prenatal care services and education geared to the special needs of the teenage client. In addition, the program will provide a social worker and maternity care coordination services to facilitate the referral to and communication with other community resources needed to assure that all of the teen client's psychosocial, medical and educational needs are being met. Services will be provided during after-school hours, at the newly operating Highland Health Center, the area of Gaston County with the highest teen pregnancy rate and greatest social and economic barriers to care.
The learn more about how your health agency can tackle a key problem with a team at the Management Academy, go to www.maph.unc.edu.