Overviewof California Statewide AHEC Program
Thisis a 40 year old state organization of partnership nature whichbrings together the academic and community interest to improve andenhance the health care access.
Itdevelops with partners the community –based approaches to thehealth education with main emphasis on the community based training.AHEC program is supported by the HRSA grant and the state ofCalifornia. It accomplishes its program through the thirteen centerswhich it has developed which are depended and located in theundeserved areas throughout the state. Due to its community basedtraining the AHEC is connected with the community health centerswhereby 9 out of 13 centers are funded by the community clinicconsortia (California, 1980).
Theprograms funded for 2013/2014 are:
Education of health professionals employed in community health centers and clinics and this is community based.
Training of health professions, residents and students who are community based
Training the students and other professions to provide health information to patients and other communities.
Experience for the K-12 students, higher educational information and health professions
Inthe period 2012/2013 it provided the health professions with theeducation in the following areas
Continuous education for the health professionals whereby more than 10000 practicing health professions were trained on chronic disease management, quality improvement and disaster preparedness (California, 1980).
The community base clinic experience for the health professions residents and the students. In this case more than 2400 health professions student were trained in more than 100 community training sites and 85% of these sites were the undeserved sites.
The health professions students were taught on how to present the health education information to the clinic patients and the communities.
Inthis case, 24 FM residents were trained on the peer educationprogramme, and the adolescent. Also 10 health professional s studentswere trained in presentation of the health education programs to theolder individuals. In addition, 80 medical students were capacitybuild on community medicine and the presentation of the healtheducation materials to the community.
Experience for the K-12 students, higher educational information and health professions. More than 10,000 K-12 students were contacted and 2700 students participated in this program. Approximately 70% of those trained were ethnically diverse.
CaliforniaAHEC Program is renowned for the development of new programs,augmentation of existing ones, and the convening of clinical,community and academic leaders in order to implement improvements inclinical and education services. Some of the activities which wereestablished some years back have been institutionalized and are selfsufficient for instance Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center,Family Medicine Residency Programs, Bachelors And Masters LevelNursing Programs And The College Of Allied Health At Charles DrewUniversity Programs. It is also recognized for initiation of trainingprograms for the southern California state’s health care workforcein underserved sites and for early, facilitation innovation andinitiation investment.
AHECand the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development partneredto establish the Cal-SEARCH (2009-2011) program which offered thecommunity and students rotations in some undeserved areas. Also itpartnered with the NHSC (ARRA) for the NHSC Research and EvaluationActivities (2011-2013) which aided funding for the students orclinicians. This program evaluated the degree to which outreachactivities and education to students and clinicians in NHSC programsled to their retention in sites they practice.
2.Community Health Council (CHC)
CHCproject is a national program which advocates for the elimination ofhealth disparities through increasing quality healthcare access,expansion of healthcare coverage, and improvement of the environmentfor communities who are under-resourced. It does this through workingwith the community and coalition building. The coalitions arecomposed of social services, consumer advocates, leaders and faithbased organizations in California and the US.
Ituses the data from the consumers and community organizations todevelop and shape the policy and systems change. It has variouscommunity interventions which aids in policy formulation fortransforming people living. It does this through:
Access and quality of healthcare coalitions to mobilize resources belonging to community in order to improve healthcare services quality, enhance healthcare safety t, and promote medical home establishment which is cost effective.
Community health and education, it works with the local residents, building and transforming the assets belonging to the community for promotion of health.
Expansion And Quality of Healthcare Coverage supports the coalitions at national, state and local levels to improve and expand healthcare programs. It helps families use the low cost health insurance to insure more children in California.
Thework of Community Health Councils has been promoted through thefunding from various donors and this has enabled it to showtremendous leadership at the federal, state and local levels. Thefollowing are the funders
California Community Foundation
California Wellness Foundation
California WIC Foundation
Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Children`s Health Outreach Initiatives
Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
REACHPartners in Health
In2012 CHCwas awarded with a Racialand Ethnic Approaches to Community Health: Obesity & HypertensionDemonstration Project 2012 grantby Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the USDepartment of Health and Human Services` Public Health PreventionFund. This $7.7 million award was to support Partnersin Health,which is a three-year project for developing and implementingsystems, policy, and environmental changes in southern Californiawhich is racially and ethnically diverse and undeserved. More than $4million was to be provided to its partners and the local communityorganizations for working to improve the health of the communities.
Thisproject collaborated with the CHC, Los Angeles County Department ofPublic Health, the Los Angeles Unified School District, andUniversity of Southern California researchers with the main goal ofreducing the disparities in the rates of obesity and hypertension forthe African Americans in southern Californian. It was to address thefollowing three issues:
Improvement of quality of nutrition in schools
Adopt and implement the medical home model in underserved areas with uninsured populations
Update the individual community plan
CHCwas awarded with the following grants by the Centersfor Disease Control & Prevention in September 2012 to reduce thechronic diseases through healthy living:
Community Transformation Small Community GrantThis program was worth $70 million to reduce diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, stroke and cancer which are chronic. The grant was meant to reduce the health disparity and expand community and clinical preventive services.
REACH Demonstration Project
Thisproject was meant to develop and implement environmentalimprovements, scalable and replicable systems and to reduce obesityand hypertension disparities for Latino and African-Americanresidents in the West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert and South LosAngeles Community Plan Areas which focus on the communities borderingthe community clinics and local schools. It is a partnership withUniversity of Southern California School of Planning and PublicPolicy, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and LosAngeles Unified School District. It was to be worth $4 million insubcontracts to its local community organizations partners
3.Greenfield Walking Group (Bakersfield, CCROPP)
Thisis a local program formed in 2006 by a group of local mothers toimprove their fitness and connect with neighbors and friends. Theheld a meeting at a park which was littered and poorly lit and hadbroken bottles and hypodermic needles. The paths were cracked andunable to be navigated by an aid of baby stroller hence unusable bynew mothers. They had to cross more lanes of the high speeding motortraffic and hence these women had to take action (The CaliforniaEndowment, n.d).
Theyorganized, invited parks officials, police, and community leaders towalk in the park alongside them in order to see and be able tounderstand their problem. The local Chamber of Commerce latersupported the park renovation and improvements. In turn more than 100volunteers aided to install a new walking path. Currently, theGreenfield Walking Group is a community institution. Many membershave had significant weight loss (up to 80 pounds) and have reportedimprovements in their health and quality of life. This project iscurrently funded by Center for Disease and Control. The BakersfieldChamber of Commerce has also donated Greenfield Walking Groupwith$10,000 to create walking paths (The California Endowment,n.d).
Partners & FundersOtherpartners are:
Agents for Change
Alliance for Biking & Walking
California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA)
California Bicycle Coalition
California Active Communities (a joint program of the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health and Aging and the California Department of Public Health)
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Community-Based Public Health Caucus – Policy and Advocacy Work Group
Healthy Transportation Network
National Complete Streets Coalition
Programs for Elderly
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) California State Network
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Partnership
Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC)
Traffic Safe Communities Network
Traffic Safety Coalition
Transportation for America
UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC)
CaliforniaWALKS has been having funding from the following over the years
The California Endowment
California Office of Traffic Safety/California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
The Health Trust of Silicon Valley
Healthy Transportation Network/California Department of Public Health
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC)
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
PedSafe/California Department of Public Health
Theprinciples which guide California Walks’ advocacy efforts are:
Maintainanace Level Funding for Active Transportation (ATP)
Fair Share of Safety Funding for People who Bike and Walk
Alignment with State Sustainability Policies, Mandates and Goals
TheCommunity education, engagement and empowerment are done and the engagement , education and empowerment of community members has ledto them being effective advocates for safe healthy neighborhoodsand environments is important to making walking safe. With currentfunding it provides various activities that engages, educates andempowers the local residents (Gauwitz, 2007).
Healthy& Safe Communities Network
Thisnetwork influences the regional transportation, jobs, housing,land-use, and sustainability policies ways that promote equitablegrowth for all.  Also, it ensures that Bay Area communitiesaccess the clean air and safe streets that are walk able, bikeable and, and have good access to opportunities, jobs, and otheramenities.
CommunityPedestrian Safety Trainings
CaliforniaWalks conducts theseTrainings (CPSTs) all over the state of California tostrengthen the community skills, educate residents on pedestriansafety best practices, and conduct walk ability assessment toaid residents prioritize and identify next steps in developing a planon pedestrian safety action.
OlderAdult Pedestrian Safety Trainings
CaliforniaWalks leads in older adult pedestrian safety training andensures that seniors remain active physically through walking. Itpartners with the CaliforniaAlliance of Retired Americans’ (CARA), 900,000 members andthe Agentsfor Change, to develop a Pedestrian Bill of Rights.
YouthEngagement: California Walks Youth Leaders
Ithas been working with youth as partners in community health andpedestrian safety since youths are the reality and voice for futuregeneration and there is need to build on their leadership.
It providesa variety of educational activities including walk audits, trainingspresentations, workshops, and technical assistance school safetycurriculum  to local California residents, schools andcommunities.
Concerningthe funding for each program it was found that the funding for AHECPROJECT and CHC was sufficient enough to fulfill their goals andmandates while those for Greenfield Walking Group were not enough tosustain its activities and could not fulfill its mandate fully. As aresult, more funding needs to be pumped to those programs since theyhave an immense impact on the health standards California peoples(Gauwitz, 2007)
Fundingto such programs can actually be improved through various means. Thismay be through organizing walks, writing proposals, registering andcharging membership fee, organizing sporting activities to raisefunds, carrying out promotional activities on health and organizingawareness campaigns on health with main aim of raising funds.
California,D. (1980). Proposalto the California Statewide Area Health Education Center Program forarea health education center activities: July 1, 1980-June 30, 1981.Sacramento, Calif.: Davis Regional AHEC Office.
Gauwitz,D. F. (2007). Communityhealth nursing.Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.
TheCalifornia Endowment, (n.d). Success Story: Greenfield Walking Group.Retrieved From,http://www.partnershipph.org/sites/default/files/Greenfield_WalkingGroup.pdf[Accessed on May 10, 2014].