FIU’s Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP™ (GFF NeighborhoodHelp) initiative recently won Florida Blue Foundation’s 2014 Sapphire Award for best program along with $60,000.
“The Sapphire Awards recognize the outstanding people, organizations and programs that have proven success helping the most underserved members of our communities,” said Susan Towler, vice president, Florida Blue Foundation.
GFF NeighborhoodHELP™ (Health Education Learning Program) is the cornerstone of the medical curriculum of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. A unique concept in medical education, the program sends student teams to visit patients in their homes in underserved communities of Miami-Dade County, preparing them to address the social determinants that affect health access and outcomes. Through these household visits, the program provides individuals and communities with a range of services including education, support, and primary health care provided through a Mobile Health Care Center, staffed by physicians and nurses from the medical school, which makes weekly neighborhood visits.
“The program’s success is dependent on our collaboration with the community, colleges and awards such as these that help improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities,” said Pedro “Joe” Greer, M.D., associate dean for community engagement, FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
A study of GFF NeighborhoodHELP™ households published this April in the Southern Medical Journal reported that as a result of the program, there was an increased use of preventive health measures such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, Pap smears, mammograms and colonoscopies by participating families. The report also showed that monitored households who used the emergency room on a regular basis for health care, decreased from 61 percent to 26 percent.
“One of the unique features of GFF NeighborhoodHELP is our true partnership with the communities we serve, allowing the communities to be an integral part of teaching and training the new breed of 21st century physicians,” added Greer.