The Health Promotion Resource Center (HPRC) at Morehouse School of Medicine was established in 1988 under the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine with a grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The primary goal was to develop a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention model for minority and other populations.
The philosophy of HPRC is that health promotion efforts are likely to be more successful in populations where the at-risk community is empowered to identify its own health concerns, develop its own prevention and/or intervention strategies, and form a decision-making coalition board to make policy decisions and identify resources for program implementation.
HPRC implements a Community Organization and Development model through the use of community organizers and other support staff. The primary role of community organizers is to build coalitions in urban and rural communities. This enables them to become more self-sufficient and empowers them to address health and other problems as they see fit.
The process for achieving this involves:
- The development of a demographic, socioeconomic and epidemiologic profile; community entry;
- The organization of a consumer-dominated board/coalition;
- Incorporation and Nonprofit status;
- The implementation of a Community Health Needs Assessment;
- Resource Mobilization;
- Planning and Programming;
- The implementation of a Health Intervention Program.
Inherent in this process is the education of the coalition board and the transfer of management and operational skills for successful community-based programs. This is an ongoing process with participatory dialogue from the bottom up and the top down. It is through this type of exchange that HPRC has been able to develop training programs and provide technical assistance that is relevant and successful in preparing the coalition boards for their tasks.
The process of empowerment through the formation of coalitions for health promotion is a means of developing the problem-solving potential of communities so that they can become proactive instead of reactive on important health issues. It also enables historically disenfranchised individuals and communities to obtain access to and gain control of valued resources. This also implies that, through this process, resource allocation will be based on decisions made by those individuals who are affected by them.
Health promotion is an important strategy for improving the health of a community, thus improving the quality of life for the people of that community.
At HPRC, our staff has extended the commitment we made to our community through our work to urban and rural areas. We follow the trends of our nation and propose to include implementing new initiatives as set forth by Healthy People 2010. need for immediate attention, though we also continue to collaborate to provide prevention services, technical assistance, and evaluation to underserved communities in urban Georgia. We are excited that HPRC has set standards for excellence in providing public health services that have encouraged other nonprofit, state and some private service providers, to want to collaborate with us to expedite our efforts to identify, increase coalition-building, and continue to provide quality care in underserved communities. We particularly prefer to work in rural Georgia because of the lack of resources and the increasing need for immediate attention, though we also continue to collaborate to provide prevention services, technical assistance, and evaluation to underserved communities in urban Georgia.