HOBOKEN, NJ–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–May 28, 2003–Pfizer Health Solutions, in partnership with The Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care today launched Amigos en Salud at St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken.
Amigos en Salud translated as “Friends in Health”, focuses on Latino cultural perceptions central to successful diabetes management. Health promoters, who provide peer-to-peer health education and support, work with local physicians and newly diagnosed patients in-language and focus on cultural beliefs, behavior change strategies, and the use of literacy-appropriate materials to help patients manage their diabetes.
Nationally, 6% of all Latino Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes, more than twice that of Caucasians. This rises to 21% of all Latinos over 65. It is estimated that 27% of Hispanic deaths are related to diabetes complications (Centers for Disease Control, 1996). New Jersey Hispanics represent the largest ethnic group in NJ reporting fair to poor health, and 39.5% of New Jersey Hispanics did not participate in any physical activity during the previous month.
“Because individuals don’t always understand that the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening disease such as diabetes might be preventable and can successfully be managed for years, they often compromise their health and increase the likelihood of serious illness or complications. It’s much better for individuals if they can learn to effectively manage diabetes at home and in the community with people who can relate to their experience,” explained John Fritz, DO, a clinical director of the Amigos program.
Congressman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) added, “In order to lead healthy lives and remain healthy, we need to encourage our families, friends and neighbors to visit their doctors on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Hispanics nationally, and in New Jersey, often cannot afford to do so, and are disproportionately affected by diabetes, a disease that requires regular monitoring. The Amigos program will provide members of the community with the opportunity to receive important and relevant information on diabetes care in a culturally sensitive manner, as well as in the language they best understand.”
“This program is a model not only for the Hispanic community, but for all communities that are faced with barriers in accessing much-needed healthcare services. Pfizer Health Solutions and Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care are to be commended and congratulated for their leadership in developing such an innovative approach to care. I am pleased to support this program, as it furthers the goal of legislation I introduced in Congress earlier this year – the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act – to increase prevention screening among Hispanics, and help them navigate through the health care system when a disease such as diabetes is diagnosed.”
Eileen Crowley, Pfizer Health Solutions’ Amigos en Salud program coordinator, explains that “health promoters are an essential step in the health care process, to not only support but also educate patients in managing their disease. The sheer complexity of diabetes and the barriers to care that patients must overcome require that we help patients build a toolkit they can use to gain a deeper understanding of their health and behavior within the context of their own lives.”
Rick Evans, Vice President, Mission Services, Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care, agrees. “When Pfizer Health Solutions first approached us, we knew our parish nurse program was the ideal place to deploy this program since it is one of our key outreach methods for improving community health. Because our parish nurse sites are overwhelmingly in Hispanic neighborhoods, Pfizer saw this as an innovative model for launching the Amigos program.”
Created in 1995, Pfizer Health Solutions, Inc. (PHS) is the clinical informatics subsidiary of Pfizer Inc, which merges technology applications with clinical care. PHS develops and implements solutions that help achieve improvements in the quality of health care delivery and in the operating efficiencies of large physician groups, health plans, hospitals, integrated delivery systems and community organizations.
The Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care operates St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken and Christ Hospital, St. Francis and the Franciscan Home & Rehabilitation Center in Jersey City and currently has 3,105 employees, 1,205 physicians, and 968 licensed inpatient beds, as well as 183 long-term care beds.
Pfizer, Judy Brooks (212) 573-7897
Program, Dora O. Tovar (817) 467-5759
Program, Brian Franklin (202) 312-1098