The Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative's clinical initiatives increase access to care for the treatment of heart disease, stroke, and related risk factors in the 18-county Delta region.
Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers (CHWs) work in association with the Mississippi State Department of Health in urban and rural environments to link the gap between providers and community population in need of care. CHWs are members of the community that provide culturally appropriate health education and information in order to assist people in receiving their needs.
The Community Health Worker program was selected as an evidence-based initiative for improving clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease.
Medication Therapy Management
The Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program involves the pharmacist, patient or caregiver, and other healthcare team members working together to promote safe and effective use of medication for improved clinical outcomes. Pharmacists as medication experts are well-suited for providing patient care that ensures optimal medication therapy outcomes and that can contribute to the lowering of overall healthcare costs.
The Delta Pharmacy Project draws from the University of Mississippi Medical Center experience, other successful community models such as the nationally acclaimed Asheville Project Diabetes MTM program, and the Core Elements of an MTM Service Model as well as other national initiatives, to create a patient-centered pharmacy program in rural community pharmacies and provider clinics in the Mississippi Delta. This new model is structured to address the health care needs in this region and to demonstrate how pharmacists can impact clinical, economic and humanistic outcomes through MTM.
The clinical pharmacists provide MTM sessions focused on cardiovascular risk reduction in a number of patients identified by the MSDH in four sites:
- Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center, Batesville and Clarksdale
- G. A. Carmichael Family Health Center, Yazoo City
- Vicksburg-Warren Family Health Center (Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center), Vicksburg
Community Health Worker Certification Program
Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of community health workers (CHWs) on improving quality of care and health outcomes. CHWs have contributed to significant improvements in community members' access to and continuity of care, screening and other health-related behaviors, and adherence to treatment for control of various conditions and diseases as well as reduced health care costs.
Tougaloo College/Central Mississippi Area Health Education Center (CMAHEC) is currently working with the Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of Preventive Health and other organizations to develop a standardized program for certifying community health workers (CHW) within the state of Mississippi. This program will result in the credentialing and recognition of CHWs as a profession and vital link in the state's health services. CHWs, who are members of the community they serve, conduct outreach and education to citizens in rural and urban areas who suffer from chronic diseases, early childhood diseases, and other health conditions. Community health workers make home visits, help patients navigate complex health information systems, give limited advice, and help connect patients to the resources they need. Adding CHWs to the patient-provider team has a beneficial effect on the quality of care for vulnerable populations. This partnership will result in the certification, training and placement of CHWs workers who in turn assist in helping to reduce health disparities in Mississippi.