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Empowering People to Manage Their Chronic Conditions

NYC Council Member Ritchie Torres (15th-NY) (far right) joined BPHC in thanking Peer Leaders and Community Health Workers for their role in helping people in the Bronx stay healthy.


Each week, Carla Ann Mitchell, a trained “Peer Leader,” spends an afternoon at Health People – Community Preventive Health Institute giving a workshop to community members on how to better understand and manage their Type 2 diabetes.

Topics covered over a six-week period include: handling symptoms of diabetes, fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, and emotional issues like depression, anger, fear and frustration. They also address exercise, healthy eating, appropriate use of medication, and working more effectively with health care providers.

Participants make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they come across in developing and carrying out their own diabetes management plan.

This DSRIP project is a collaboration of BPHC and one of its member organizations, Health People, which recruits, trains and certifies to trains Peer Leaders to administer the national Stanford Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP).

“I lost several family members to diabetes and I live with the disease so people know that I can relate to their experience,” says Mitchell. “That’s one of the reasons people respond so well to the program. They know that I understand their lives and where they are coming from.”


Rosemary Lopez (left) is a community health worker with a.i.r. nyc, an asthma home-based self-management program designed to help adults and children struggling with asthma control their condition.

Asthma is a serious, chronic disease and its prevalence in the Bronx ranks among the highest in the United States, including 20% of children and 1 in 11 Medicaid patients.

Rosemary has been trained to engage people in learning more about managing their asthma and available services in their communities. In her role, she visits families at their homes to help identify any asthma triggers that may be present, such as smoke, dust or poor ventilation. She reviews their asthma medications, and if needed, refers them to other support services that can make their home environment healthier.

“The outcome can be fewer hospital stays, less time off work and fewer school absences,” Lopez says. “It can change families’ lives.”

BPHC’s partnership with a.i.r. nyc on this DSRIP project drives our goal to keep people with asthma healthy, active and out of the hospital.


 Published February 23, 2017