They’ll come up with solutions on how to address this problem.
Frederick, Md (KM) Six non-profits in Frederick County will be working to improve access to health care for underserved and minority populations. Dr. Rachel Mandel, whose the lead project manager on this endeavor, says these organizations will try to improve clinical linkage; understanding the social determinants of health experiences; and highlight meaningful strategies.
“In plain language, it just means that there are lot of reasons why people have problems with their health. There’s a lot of reasons why they have trouble accessing health care. And that’s the social determinants of health,” Dr. Mandel says.
The Asian-American Center of Frederick received a $50,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Other participating organizations are the Frederick County Health Department, Frederick Health Hospital, the United Way, Mission of Mercy and Frederick Community Action Agency. The grant period runs through July, 2021, according to Dr. Mandel.
She says there are some factors which prevent the underserved and some minority populations for receiving the health care they need. “Those are some of the things they may not have as much control over as they would like: where they live; what kind of jobs they have; whether they, based on their ethnicity or race, have access to certain services, or whether there’s some bias in the system; whether they get certain types of jobs, etc,” she says.
“We’re looking at how we help those who struggle and don’t have the same access to health care that we think everybody should have,” Dr. Mandel continues.
She says many of these people could have high blood pressure, diabetes or other conditions, and can’t always follow through on care and treatment. “They may not have transportation. They may not have the resources or the money to pay for pay for medications to help control, for example, blood pressure or diabetes, which is the focus of this study,” she said.
These problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “With people losing jobs, losing insurance, having difficulty accessing care, not sure if they can access care,” says Dr. Mandel. “We also know the price of food has gone up. That ‘s changed people’s budget as well. It’s certainly exacerbated and brought out some of those gaps and those disparities in health care that we knew prior to the pandemic existed.”
She says the Affordable Care Act passed more than ten year ago has helped some. “There’s a lot of apprehension in the community about getting health care or finding the right health care. We don’t have enough primary care doctors in the community. There’s still a lot of pieces that we need to address,” says Dr. Mandel.
The Asian-American Center of Frederick is one 42 community multi-sector partnerships and coalitions across the nation to receive this grant. The total amount awarded is $2-million.
By Kevin McManus