Our Healthy Changes Program provides outreach, screening, education, referrals, and follow up of medical services to reduce health disparities for our local Cambodian and Latino populations in 3 focus areas: diabetes, heart disease & stroke, and mental health. care practices. We achieve these goals by: (1) Increasing awareness of disease symptoms, risky behaviors and health promoting activities (2) Improving access to health care for Cambodian and Latino families (3) Reducing high-risk behaviors and increasing health-promoting behaviors and (4) Increasing the awareness of stakeholders about these health disparities. The project’s goals are (1) to improve patient-provider interaction; (2) to improve cultural and linguistic competency, and (3) to increase awareness of health disparities.
Healthy Changes represents a collaborative partnership of four agencies funded by the Federal Office of Minority Health to provide services to the Minnie Street neighborhood of Santa Ana. The Cambodian Family is the lead agency in this collaborative. The other partners are St. Joseph Hospital, Jamboree Housing’s Housing with a Heart, and the Lestonnac Free Clinic. Program funding is secured through September 2010.
Trauma Resolution and Stress Reduction
During its 20-year existence, our agency has developed expertise in helping limited-English-speaking, uprooted people work through their barriers to adjustment and make progress towards well-being and family self-sufficiency. Most of our clients have survived trauma and in their home countries or during their escape and immigration journeys. Many continue to suffer in their hearts, minds, and bodies, from deep grief and bodily pain. Their symptoms – whether emotional, physical, or both – are the results of war, hard labor, starvation, actual or threatened torture, and the broken connection to homeland, family, and friends. If left unresolved, these trauma symptoms continue to haunt them, and result in suffering, debilitation, dysfunction, and disease.
In order to help our clients resolve their trauma symptoms, we designed this “Opportunities for Change” project. Our participants learn the causes of stress, pain, trauma, and dysfunctional habits. And they learn practical tools for relaxing stress, relieving pain, healing trauma, and changing dysfunctional habits. The approach is slow, gentle, simple and profound. Our first-year outcomes have been significant: educed sadness, worry, anger, aggression, nervousness, dizziness, headaches, bodily pain, nightmares, and insomnia. In some cases, the symptoms have stopped altogether. In inverse proportion, as negative symptoms decrease, positive indicators of well-being increase: resiliency, comfort, tolerance for others, connectedness, love, happiness, wanting to be healthy, seeing greater meaning in life, having options and making choices. Participants understand themselves better, gain practical tools for change, feel empowered, and expand their capacity to manage challenges and lead fulfilling lives.
Minnie Street Family Resource Center
We partner with local agencies in a County-funded program that provides critical mental health services to our Hispanic and Cambodian community. In the past two years, our agency has provided health accessing and family counseling to more than 200 Cambodian parents in our community.
The Walking Club
The Walking Club is an important new addition to our Health Program, supported through a grant from the Federal Office of Minority Health. Participants are mostly Cambodian refugee women, over 45 years of age. Most suffer from a variety of conditions dating from their traumatic experiences in Cambodia and the process of resettlement. Headaches, diabetes, and high blood pressure are common ailments. Each walker monitors her blood pressure before and after the walk using a Blood Pressure Monitor. The Walking Club is an important step in encouraging local residents to develop good habits that will improve their health.