Health and Human Services
The Health and Human Services Facet was established by The Links, Incorporated in July 2012 in response to the chronic health disparities that persist in the minority communities and result in the decreased life expectancy of African Americans.
The Health and Human Services Facet’s mission is to promote and facilitate programs that support the maintenance of good health and the elimination of chronic health disparities in communities of color through education, health advocacy, and optimal utilization of health resources. At the Western Area Conference of The Links, Incorporated held in June 2013, the Missouri City (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated received the highest competitive Award for its 2012-2013 pilot program “Passport to STEM-ulating Healthy Lifestyles.
Chronic illnesses are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Seven out of 10 Americans die from chronic disease each year when most of these deaths were preventable. Of the 1.7 million people that die each year, 70% are from preventable chronic diseases. About 133 million Americans or 1 out of 2 adults have at least one chronic illness; and 58% are between the ages of 18 and 64. African Americans and Hispanic Americans have an untoward amount of these incidents. Due to the lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco, and alcohol consumption account for the majority of these deaths. The six (6) most common chronic diseases are: heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Due to socio-economic realities in the African American and Hispanic communities, there is a higher incidence of contracting one of these health conditions through poor nutritional and lifestyle choices.
Thus, the need to modify the health choices of all America is well documented. “The Passport to STEMulating Healthy Lifestyle” is designed to affect a target group of people living in a small community of Houston, the Sunnyside Super Neighborhood, whose chronic illnesses and morbidity rate is higher than that of Houston proper.
The “Passport to S.T.E.M.ulating Healthy Lifestyle” (Passport) is a three-tier intergenerational program implemented in partnership with the Missouri City (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, which seeks to modify unhealthy behavioral choices and patterns of sixty (60) minority middle school girls, their mothers and grandmothers at ” Energized for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy” (E-STEM). This bi-monthly mentoring program began as a pilot program implemented during the 2012-13 academic school year. E-STEM is a Title I Charter school in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Southeast Houston that admits students in grades 6-12 with an aptitude for mathematics and science. The Sunnyside Community is an African American community with an average family income of less than $25,000 per year. The students participating in the Passport program are recognized fondly at E-STEM Academy as Sassy Ladies. This distinguishes the girls from their peers and serves as a recruitment tool.
The three program tiers are explicated:
Tier I introduces the students to the preponderance of unhealthy lifestyles that permeate their community.
Tier II educates the mothers and grandmothers on the importance of modeling healthy lifestyles in the home environment, beyond the field experience.
Tier III seeks to modify the intergenerational “healthy lifestyle” behavior through use of the “Passport” and behavior modification model.
The Passport Program exposes the students, their mothers, and grandmothers to healthy lifestyle choices and behavior modifications through a variety of field based experiences focused on self-esteem building, eliminating health risks, and reducing the incidence of chronic illness.
Students are given an official life-size “Passport” to monitor and track their participation and progress of themselves, their mothers, and grandmothers. The passport is an effective tool that establishes an incentive system to award stickers to the students throughout the program. The passport is a symbol of achievement during their lifestyle journey. It records their attendance, participation, mother/grandmother’s attendance. Post assessment on field based experiences, completion of health-related research project, and completed behavior modification logs track and trend positive lifestyle adaptations.
The goals and objectives of the project are:
1. To expose an inter-generational audience to the increased mortality and morbidities associated with chronic illness.
2. To educate the target audience on the etiology of the six (6) diseases that most adversely affect minority populations — hypertension, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
3. To empower the target audience to make better long-term choices to empower them to make positive health decisions outside of the norms of their community through improved self-esteem.
4. To expose the target audience to minority professionals in health-related careers to plant the desire to achieve in STEM-related fields.
5. To teach the target audience through behavior modification the implementation of healthy lifestyles to ultimately break the cycle of unhealthy choices.
- Recruitment: Meet with PTA, Students, Teacher groups @ E-STEM (Aug 15)
- Harvest Tea:Kickoff and Orientation (September 26)
- Didactic for Breast Cancer (October 10)
- TICKLED PINK (October 31)
- Didactic – Healthy Eating (November 7)
- CHEF TIM (November 21)
- Didactic – Self Esteem (December 5)
- UNSTOPPABLE ME: (December 13)
- Didactic – Movement (January 9, 2015)
- Motivated to Move (January 23)
- Didactic – Heart Disease (February 13)
- Go Red for Women (February 21)
- Baylor College of Medicine ( March 6)
- College for a Day (April 4)
- Research Project Presentations (May 15)
- Awards Ceremony – Certificates of Completion Presentation (tba)
- The Missouri City (TX) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
- The Choice Foundation, Inc.
- TMF Health Quality Institute
- KOHL’S Department Store #553
- Chevron, USA
- American Heart Association
STEM Professionals and Community Partnerships Involved in teaching and modeling Healthy Lifestyles
- Link Wanda Mott, M.D. – Obstetrician / Gynecologist – HHS Chair
- Link Jarmese Morris, Health Care Administrator – HHS Co Chair
- Link Carla Ortique, M.D. – Obstetrician / Gynecologist
- Dr. Baxter Montgomery – Cardiologist
- Dr. Carmen Landrau – Cardiologist
- Dr. Mary Washington aka “Rapper MD” – Nephrologist
- Dr. Judi Shaw- Rice – Internal Medicine
- Link Linda Coleman Brown, Ph.D., – HHS Member
- Link Janice Beal Geyen, Ed.D., Psychologist – HHS Member
- Link Evelyn Thornton, Ph.D., Mathematician – HHS Member
- Link Patricia Williams, R. Ph., Pharmacist – HHS Member
- Link Sandra Aldridge, Mechanical Engineer
- Mrs. Marsha Clark, Registered Nurse
- Link Mamie Ewing, Social Worker – HHS Member
- Michael Dean, Graduate Student in Nutrition, Texas Southern University
- Anthony Bullock, Information Technology Instructor , E-STEM Academy
- American Heart Association
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Health and Medical Museum, Houston
- Link Monica Fontenot Poindexter, Vice President of Programs -MCCL
- Link Roxanne Chargois – HHS Member and Vice Area Director for The Western Area of The Links, Incorporated.
- Link Patricia Young, J.D., Research Mentor – HHS Member
- Link Ann Medrano, Research Mentor – HHS Member
- Link Jacqueline Cooper, Ed.D., Research Mentor – HHS Member
- Link Tiffany Dugar, Business Banker – HHS Member
- Link Muriel Funches, Marketing and Advertising – HHS Member
- Link Paige Cawthon, Educational Consultant -HHS Member
- Link Lois Bullock, School Master/Owner – HHS Member
- Link Vanessa Gilmore, Judge – HHS Member
- Link Jerelyn Gooden, Home Economist – HHS Member
- Link Yolanda Green, Community Investment Manager – HHS Member
- Link Carol Watson, Artist – HHS Member
- Link Yava Scott, J.D. – HHS Member