Helane Davis had no idea she had very high blood pressure until HealthStreet community health worker Karla King discovered it during a check at the Senior Recreation Center. “Our paths crossed for a reason, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to make a difference and possibly save her life,” King said.
Linking community members to social and medical services is one aim of HealthStreet, which launched in 2011 and is supported jointly by UF’s College of Medicine, College of Public Health and Health Professions and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. HealthStreet also seeks to connect people to opportunities to participate in health research as part of a goal to reduce health disparities.
HealthStreet community health workers meet with residents at local gathering spots such as laundromats, libraries, bus stops, community centers, health fairs and churches to assess concerns and provide referrals for services and research opportunities.
HealthStreet’s community center at 2401 SW Archer Rd. in Gainesville offers a number of no-cost services and programs including health workshops, support group meetings, access to computers and healthy cooking classes.
“At HealthStreet, we believe that it really is all about relationships,” said Cathering Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.E., co-director of HealthStreet and an assistant professor of epidemiology. “We build trust one person at a time, serving as a conduit to university and community resources and providing ongoing opportunities to influence the research enterprise and improve the health of our community.”
Dr. David Fedele and graduate students Marie Chardon and Casey Lawless meet with Gerquon (third from left) and Elizabeth (far right), participants in Fedele’s pediatric asthma management study. Study meetings are held at HealthStreet’s community center.