The Braddock Community Partnership (BCP) was formed in 1995. Its membership consists of citizens and service agencies working together to improve community health status and the overall well-being of Braddock and surrounding communities in the Monongahela River Valley. The Braddock Community partnership was designated by the State of Pennsylvania as a State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) site on June 20, 2000. Working in partnership with the UPMC Braddock and other community organizations, the BCP encompasses the communities of Braddock, North Braddock, Rankin, Turtle Creek, Wilmerding, East Pittsburgh, Whitaker, Duquesne, Homestead, West Homestead, Munhall, and East McKeesport.

 

The immediate area surrounding Braddock has been designated as both medically and dentally underserved. It is also a health professional shortage area. The area has a high African American population and a high rate of poverty. Statistics show a profound correlation between low-income, minority populations and the impact disease have on both children and adults. Individuals in this area are less likely than those in more affluent and less culturally diverse areas to seek medical/dental care.

 

The creation of the BCP provides synergy and a supportive infrastructure to allow the community to become empowered, self-directed, and to plan socio-economic development at a grass roots level. The partnership is successful in determining the needs of our community due to the high level of community involvement. The Braddock Community Partnership believes no single entity can solve these problems alone.

 

The BCP utilizes creative approaches to provide services to our underserved population including outreach, education, and existing partnerships to implement grass roots outreach efforts. One of the roles for the Braddock Community Partnership is identifying needs and developing programs to meet those needs. In addition to the health disparity areas of cardiovascular, asthma, diabetes maternal child health, and cancer; access to dental care was identified as a major need within the targeted communities in a community health needs assessment commisioned by the BCP in 2004.

 

UPMC, the host Agency for the BCP is committed to eliminating health disparities by providing better access to high quality health care to minority residents who often encounter barriers to such care because of their socio-economic status. The BCP worked with UPMC Braddock, to create a new comprehensive health delivery model to better serve the needs of the minority and low-income neighborhoods. The model adheres to the national Healthy People 2010 goals and targets these goals in segments or “steps”. This pilot project is called “Steps to a Healthy Community” (Steps). The mission of Steps is to develop and implement a new model of health care delivery to fulfill the Healthy People 2010 goal to eliminate health disparities defined by the National Institutes of Health as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States.”

 

Steps will measure, using hard data, the reductions in health disparities for the chronic diseases of diabetes, asthma, maternal child health, cancer, cardiovascular, and oral health. The program staff hopes that the project will result in the development of a model that can be extended to other parts of the state and country. Supported by a team of health care professionals, Steps will eliminate barriers through aggressive case finding and engagement tactics, interventions to access health insurance or charity care, health education and disease prevention activities, and intensive interventions with patient compliance support and monitoring. In addition to the BCP, the model also includes collaborations with a Federally Qualified Health Center located in Braddock, the YMCA at Braddock, the Mon River Fleet, numerous social service, community organizations and churches.

 

For the community, this means equal access to comprehensive, culturally competent, community-based health care systems that are committed to serving the needs of the individual and promoting community health. Long-term, Steps to a Healthy Community promotes a reduction in the health disparities gap thereby creating a healthier and more productive community.