Health advocates in California are working to help underserved residents in ethnically diverse communities navigate the health care system, HealthyCal reports.
In 2014, the federal health reform law will provide incentives for the use of more health advocates.
About the Advocates
Health advocates receive more than 200 training hours, and they typically help patients at their homes. Advocates also conduct outreach in churches, schools and foreign consulates.
Advocates work to overcome barriers -- such as language issues and lack of health insurance -- that can negatively affect overall health in the communities they serve.
Advocates help individuals in their communities find health coverage, complete applications and locate physicians.
Examples of Programs
Examples of programs that aim to serve ethnically diverse communities include:
- The Sacramento-based Hmong Women Heritage Society, which provides two health programs that focus on mental health and on navigating the health care system;
- The NICOS Chinese Health Coalition in San Francisco, which operates a project to test the effectiveness of a colon cancer prevention program; and
- San Francisco's "Let's Be Healthy" wellness program, in which Russian-speaking advocates serve the Russian community (Perry, HealthyCal, 10/23).