A community health worker leads a health education class

Our Program, Salud y Vida, Concludes After Four Years

Thank You to Our Community Health Workers, Program Participants, and Funder!

Salud y Vida began in 2014 and after four years of service, ended last month. The goal of Salud y Vida was to help program participants in Hidalgo County, Texas, manage their diabetes through the adoption of healthier lifestyles. Programs like Salud y Vida are important when you consider the local prevalence of diabetes in South Texas, which is nearly 20% higher than the rest of Texas. Some experts believe that nearly one in four people in the Rio Grande Valley, a region which includes Hidalgo County, has diabetes. Salud y Vida addressed the need for diabetes education in the local region by offering free diabetes self-management classes to individuals who were referred to the program based on a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and a HbA1c (an important marker of diabetic control) of at least 8.

The education sessions consisted of six weekly classes, which ranged from topics like What is Diabetes and How Does it Impact Your Organs? to Stress and Depression, the Mental Health Impact of Diabetes. Home visits were also conducted, in which Community Health Workers would speak with program participants about the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity, and general diabetes management. In addition to education, participants were also connected with local resources. Our Community Health Workers helped participants fill out applications for the local food bank, connected them with primary care providers, and even arranged for transportation assistance to and from the doctor’s office.

In 2017, Salud y Vida enrolled nearly 800 active participants, and over the course of the entire program’s 4-year run, we found a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1c levels in our participants from a baseline measurement to their three-month measurement (baseline average 10.04, 3 month average 9.20). Classroom attendance was also high, with the average participant attending 4.7 classes. Overall, these numbers indicate that Salud y Vida was successful in positively impacting the lives of its program participants and reducing their hemoglobin HbA1c levels.

However, despite the relatively high rates of US citizenship, there are often cultural and linguistic barriers that residents face that make it difficult for them to gain access to healthcare, public assistance programs, and other forms of economic relief.

Thank you to all of our program participants, community health workers, and our funder. Through you, Salud y Vida managed to impact thousands of people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Jennifer Bishop, program director at MHP Salud, had this to say about Salud y Vida: “We strived to make diabetes management flexible and personalized for each participant, by visiting them at their homes, sending them reminders via text messages, providing tips and options to help their health depending on their resources, as well as connected them to other resources in the community. It was an important program that provided real outcomes for the participants. I was glad to have been a part of it.”

Salud y Vida was made possible through the University of Houston Health Science Center.

About MHP Salud 

MHP Salud has over thirty years of experience implementing CHW programs and training organizations looking to start and/or strengthen their own CHW programs. For more information about MHP Salud, our services, and how we can help you, please email us at info@mhpsalud.org