Floreciente Gets Community Health Advocate to Help Residents Access Better Health

UnityPoint Health-Trinity community health advocate Carolina Granja laughs during a press conference in Moline. Photo credit: Meg McLaughlin/mmclaughlin@qconline.com. Source: The Dispatch Argus

The Floreciente neighborhood now has its own community health advocate, through a fund partially granted by Global Communities, which will help advance health while also offering better access to care for Floreciente residents. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Carolina Granja, who practiced medicine in her home country of Mexico but who cannot practice here, graduated from Black Hawk College also in part through a grant from Global Communities, which is implementing the project with the support of the John Deere Foundation. The bilingual nurse is tasked with meeting individuals at home or at community partner sites. She provides health assessments, health education classes and events, referrals to providers and assistance with any aspect of the health care system.

Floreciente is a formerly downtrodden area that includes about 1,300 people and nearly 400 households, mostly of Latino descent. During the Community Health Assessment of 2018, risks, barriers and solutions within the medical system were identified for Floreciente’s mostly Hispanic population. The assessment, which was sponsored by UnityPoint Health-Trinity and other organizations in the Quad Cities area (which includes three counties in Illinois and one in Iowa), consisted of focus groups made up of the immigrant and refugee population and identified language barrier, confusion about a complex system and lack of access to care as the top priorities for Granja to address. She works a 16-hour week and collaborates closely with Trinity’s nurse manager to ensure concerns are addressed and appropriate care is delivered in a timely fashion. “They love talking with her and she has been really great for the community,” says Sarahy Castro, Community Development Coordinator with Global Communities - Moline. “Carolina has done a tremendous job so far in connecting with the community and providing information to the greater Hispanic and Latino population in the Quad Cities area.”

Now in its fifth month, healthy heart and diabetes prevention classes are set to begin next month at locations in and around the neighborhood. Trinity is also seeking funding from local foundations and grantors to continue the program into 2020 after the Global Community program ends in October. The program engages the residents of Floreciente to the greater Quad Cities business community and improve the quality of life of its residents through community-based, participatory approaches to create long-lasting, community-led change.