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    Community Health Resource Center: Healthy Outlook Winter 2011 eNewsletter

    Community Health Resource Center: Your Neighbor in Health and Wellness!

    Located in the heart of San Francisco, Community Health Resource Center (CHRC) focuses on supporting the health and well being of our community. CHRC was established to supplement the care provided by your physician, and has assisted over 100,000 Bay Area residents since its inception in 1986. As a resource to our neighbors, we have delivered stroke education to at-risk populations, provided free health screenings throughout the Bay Area, instructed smoking cessation classes, hosted health education lectures with world renowned medical experts, counseled individuals on nutrition, resource, and emotional challenges, linked newly diagnosed cancer patients with cancer survivors through our Cancer Buddy program, and so much more.

    Over the years, CHRC has expanded, refined, and implemented a variety of services to meet the most current and evolving needs of our community. Immersed in a culturally diverse neighborhood populated by residents, businesses, schools, hospitals, theatres, and museums, CHRC invites our many neighbors to tell us about their experience with our organization. Feedback is always beneficial in planning for the future and a great way to assess our “good neighbor” status. This issue of Healthy Outlook centers on community, and we share four stories from our neighbors about personal successes, partnerships, and making a difference in health and wellness.

    Making a Difference for our Community - Together

    As neighbors in the community both serving local residents, the Community Health Resource Center (CHRC) and the Mission YMCA have a long running partnership. In 2000, when CHRC received funding to expand a program that screens at-risk senior citizens in San Francisco, we began a new collaboration with CHRC. Because the Mission Y serves a large number of seniors, we host the screenings in our facility as a convenient location (walk-able in most cases) for this targeted demographic. Every month, a phlebotomist performs a health screening to our seniors and a nurse counsels participants on their results. The type of test performed rotates each month and includes bone density, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and body mass index.

    Most of the seniors we serve are unwilling to seek medical attention, due to cultural and financial reasons. The Healthy Collaboration program eliminates those challenges by educating seniors on the importance of health screenings at no cost to participants. The program sends the same phlebotomist and registered nurse on a monthly basis to help cultivate relationships and provide a comfortable atmosphere for the seniors. This approach has our seniors eager to take part in the health screenings. I often hear things like “Oh thank goodness they are conducting blood pressure screening today. I’m really concerned about my health and want to find out what my results look like”.

    One of the best and perhaps most crucial components of the Healthy Collaboration is the follow up phone calls by the phlebotomist to seniors with abnormal test results. Connecting with our seniors one month after their abnormal test result has encouraged them to take the initiative to monitor their health. One of our participants had her cholesterol level tested and the results came back high. She was counseled on some basic lifestyle changes and was encouraged to see a doctor. Fortunately she embraced the recommendations from the nurse, and has decreased her cholesterol levels and even lost some weight.

    Partnering with CHRC has provided a much needed service to seniors in our community. Besides our Healthy Collaboration partnership, CHRC has a variety of other services like their free health education lectures that some of our Y members attend to learn more about how to manage particular conditions or diseases. Working in partnership with CHRC is making an impact in our community.

    Wendy, Program Director, Mission YMCA

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    Smoke Free and Feeling Great

    It’s not a new story. I had been smoking for forty years, had quit more times than I could count, and tried every method known to man. Patches, gum, lozenges, timers, cold turkey, (why is it called that anyway?) hypnosis, I had spent fortunes and never successfully quit.

    I was having trouble breathing, using inhalers to keep my airways open, coughing harder than I cared to. I really wanted to quit! One day I came across a smoking cessation class announcement in our hospital newsletter. The Community Health Resource Center was offering a program to help people quit smoking called “No If’s, Ands or Butts”. The class would meet on 5 successive Tuesday evenings, with an extra meeting on a Thursday in the week of the quit date. At a cost of $50.00, the program was cheap compared to what I had spent in the past.

    I met Kristy Buck, a social worker from CHRC, at the interview before starting the class. I was immediately impressed by how she framed the interview, my expectations, my goals, without ever mentioning requirements or the expectations of the facilitator. I was delighted on the first night of the class to have Kristy leading our group.
    The class was incredibly diverse, coming from all different walks of life with one common bond and goal: to try and quit a habit we had grown to hate. The six classes went by very quickly. At each class we were given more and more resources to help us in a variety of ways to be successful, including: a guide to tobacco replacement; a list of the advantages of being tobacco-free (that I still keep), and the support and stories we all shared. I never thought of myself as a support group kind of guy, but I am so glad I was part of this one.

    I am now 4 months out from the class and have quit smoking. I’m sure I never would have been able to do this without the CHRC class. And, I tell everyone who mentions that they want to quit smoking about the No Ifs, Ands, or Butts program.

    Bob Osborne RN, Case Manager, ALS Clinic
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    Success and Satisfaction

    I first came to Community Health Resource Center (CHRC) in search of nutritional counseling. Diagnosed with uterine fibroids, I was considering a drastic change in diet in an attempt to halt and possibly reduce the fibroids. My ObGyn was in agreement that I should proceed under the care of a nutritionist and referred me to CHRC.

    Never having visited a nutritionist, I assumed we would promptly address the issue of my fibroids and get down to the business of managing a painful and disruptive condition. I was there to radically reduce my calorie intake. Why waste time?
    What I got was an attentive, mindful and informed nutritionist who offered me the opportunity to think more holistically about my body in relation to my diet. Although never dismissive of my immediate concerns, my counselor proposed a more long-term and lasting nutrition plan which will likely sustain me through more restrictive dietary trials to come.

    To my own surprise I began losing weight after the first few sessions without any gimmick or mind trickery; just a new orientation to what, when, and how much I was eating. For the first time in my life I was actually considering what it means to eat normally and be satisfied. Who knew!

    In addition to having a wonderfully supportive counselor, I appreciate that the office staff are courteous and professional, and that my appointment is always kept on time. I would highly recommend CHRC services to my family and friends.

    Margarita Echeverria
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    Customized Goals for My Life

    “You need to eat more fat.” These were not the words I expected to hear during my first appointment with a registered dietitian at the Community Health Resource Center. Recovering from a bout of pancreatitis, and trying to lose a significant amount of weight to take some pressure off my joints, my doctor referred me to CHRC for nutrition and weight counseling. Laura Scherling, my registered dietitian, began the session with instructions to “eat more healthy fats” and I was completely caught off guard.

    Not only have I been surprised by Laura’s approach, but over time, my expectations of nutrition counseling have been exceeded. Meeting regularly with Laura, has helped me to modify my attitudes and behaviors around food in a very productive and friendly way. One thing that I appreciate so much about her counseling style is that she works with me as I am in the moment. Initially when I felt unable (or perhaps unwilling) to measure or record my food, Laura immediately offered other approaches. I am able to work toward my goals by establishing and prioritizing healthy eating that reflects the realities of my life. My sessions with Laura, at first quite frequent and now monthly, are full of helpful advice, empathy, and humor.

    Working with Laura for almost a year, I have not only lost weight, but I am eating healthier and am happier with my food. (And yes, I am eating more healthy fats.)My energy level is up, and my joints feel better. Laura continues to urge me to keep my focus on health, not on the numbers on the scale. That remains a challenge for me, but one that she is meeting with her usual compassion and helpful suggestions.

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