The Northeast Texas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition held its second conference at Tyler Junior College West on Friday June 15, 2016. The Keynote Speakers were David L. Lakey, M.D.; Paul McGaha, M.D.; and Ardis Green, MPH. To begin the conference, Dr. Lakey presented, “Improving Health in Northeast Texas.” After lunch, we heard Dr. McGaha speak about the “Zika Virus: Implications for East Texas and CHWs.” The final talk was by Ms. Green, and it was entitled, “The New Diabetes Educator Paraprofessional Competencies.”
We chose three Breakout Sessions from a choice of eight. My choices were “Hypertension,” by Debbie Warren–a CHW Instructor; “It Takes a Village–The importance of Partnerships,” by Lori Arteaga, M.Ed.; and “Helping Clients Self-Manage Chronic Disease,” by Marcus Wade, LMSW & CHW Instructor.
The other Breakout Sessions were “Suicide Prevention in Youth: Part 1 & 2,” by Carolyn Harvey, Ph.D.; “Preconception, Pregnancy, and Tobacco,” by Jeanie Gallegly, MS & CHW Instructor; “Compliance: Confidentiality/HIPAA/PHI,” by Christie M. Cofer, BS & CHW Instructor; and “Chosen–The True Story of America’s Trafficked Teens,” by LaJuan Scott, MPA and Dreka Strickland, BS & CHW.
My choice of Breakout Sessions reflect that I have a chronic disease-Asthma and COPD-that got me on SSDI, and Medicaid/Medicare; furthermore, sometimes I get hypertension. As you can surmise, I see plenty of medical personnel and volunteer, so I know the importance of partnerships.
Improving Health in Northeast Texas
This presentation by Dr. Lakey was the ideal opener because of its broad focus and a call for action because our area’s health fairs poorly. Like all the other talks, we saw a Power Point and received a handout of those Power Points. Dr. Lakey defined Population Health as examining the overall health of an area–together with groups based on gender,age, and ethnicity. The Triple Aim is to improve the individual experience of care (quality and personal satisfaction), improve the health of the populations, and reduce the per capita cost of health care.
Despite spending more money on heath care than any country in the world, the U.S. only ranks #34 in Life Expectancy and #42 in Infant Mortality. Coincidentally, Texas ranks #34 among the states. Lack of health insurance is the major problem. Senior health for Texas is just #41. Moreover, Northeast Texas health is clearly among the worst in the state. So it keeps getting worse as you narrow the territory from nation to state to region.