The CIR Healthy Bronx Initiative received national attention in March, when a poster on the Family Health Challenge was presented at the ACGME’s annual educational conference in Maryland
Three years ago, CIR members from various Bronx hospitals launched the Healthy Bronx Initiative (HBI) to address health disparities in the borough they served. Since then, residents from across the city of New York have participated in the program—one which takes physicians out of the hospitals directly into the community to teach 7-11-year-olds about nutrition, exercise and environmental health.
Thirty nine resident physicians participated in the Family Health Challenge in 2013. Faculty from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and staff from CIR also worked to implement the 8-week course for school children on weekly topics such as choosing water over surgary drinks, eating fruits and vegetables and daily exercise.
Dr. Camille Rodriguez, CIR member and one of the authors of the poster with a background in education, said “Usually having a new face [in the classroom] kids get excited—and they were—but they were also open to the information and we definitely developed a relationship over the four weeks that I was there. They were expecting to see a doctor every Tuesday in the classroom and that was exciting for them.”
To determine the impact that the Challenge had on participating residents, the team developed and administered a web-based KAP survey at the end of the year, focusing on residents’ knowledge of the social and environmental determinants of health and the empowerment of resident physicians in addressing health disparities.
The data from the project revealed that an overwhelming majority of residents felt that the program shed light on health disparities and provided more knowledge about becoming a peer health educator in addition to providing care to their patients.
When the program started years ago, the HBI team didn’t expect to create a poster of the project but CIR Quality Improvement Coordinator Vivian Fernandez saw a unique opportunity in submitting to the ACGME. With over 60 poster presentations, the “Physicians as Community Health Educators” was the only poster highlighting a community health project. “It shows they want to promote work outside of our hospitals that address health disparities,” said Alyssa Ruiz Coordinator of Healthy Bronx.
“Practicing medicine in a way that takes health disparities and societal causes into consideration is the future of medicine,” said Marah Ramirez, HBI team member.
For more information on the Healthy Bronx Initiative visit www.healthybronx.org.