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Promoting Health and Wellness through Community Engagement

SHIRE engages DC residents to “take charge of our health” and prevent obesity and other chronic diseases. We encourage DC residents to “take charge of our health.” Our work includes projects to:

Increase physical activity in educational and child care settings through music and planned activities, working with teachers, caregivers and parents, currently promoting “My Little World” in DC chartered schools.

Through Wellness Circles, help men and women with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, learn ways to manage their health and prevent complications

Bring together grandparents and grandchildren to learn about what is needed to promote health and to support each other in getting and staying healthy, preventing and managing chronic diseases

Neighborhood Health Educators/Ambassadors

SHIRE’s work in the community has made clear the importance of trust in communications.  Community residents are far more likely to listen to persons they know, such as neighbors, community center staff and faith leaders. Guided by this principle, we have recruited and trained a cadre of peer educators who have spread the message of health in several ways, such as:

  • Made presentations to patients waiting to see their physicians;
  • Canvassed neighborhoods near farmers’ markets to promote purchases of fresh produce
  • Contacted health plan members to urge them to keep appointments at health clinics
  • Recruited Wellness Circle members and helped to guide sessions, collect data and encourage attendance
  • Distributed and presented at health fairs sponsored by community organizations and faith institutions

Advocacy to Include Communities of Color in Health Information Technology (HIT)

SHIRE is a nationally recognized advocate for communities of color who are at risk of being left behind in HIT. We manage the work of the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, which focuses on policies and programs needed to get the word out about HIT benefits. We also advocate for the resources providers need to participate in and benefit from government and private sector programs.

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Promoting Minority Health Equity and Eliminating Health Disparities

SHIRE continues to strive to achieve its mission – eliminating racial/ethnic health disparities and working for the attainment of optimal health for communities of color. As an example of that commitment, on April 5, SHIRE sponsored with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies a webinar on the topic: “Health Care Has Changed. What does that mean for me? What does that mean for my community?” This webinar, which had 138 registrants, featured these experts:

  • J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE (invited), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director, Office of Minority Health, is a national leader and spokesperson on minority health issues for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Daniel E. Dawes, JD, Executive Director of Government Relations, Health Policy, and External Affairs, Morehouse School of Medicine, is a leading expert on health reform, the Affordable Care Act and minority health policies and programs.
  • Brian D. Smedley, PhD, Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, is an acclaimed researcher and analyst of policies affecting communities of color; study director for Unequal Treatment, the landmark study of facial/ethnic disparities in healthcare.
  • Ruth T. Perot, MAT, Executive Director/CEO of SHIRE, is a recognized champion of eliminating health disparities and helping people of color attain optimal health; advocate for community engagement, HIT adoption, obesity prevention and wellness promotion.
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