Dynamic Programs for Diverse Communities
We improve health by collaborating closely with communities and strengthening leadership in cities and neighborhoods. Research shows that local ownership of programs is fundamental to success – and can help marginalized populations regain power. Check out our services to see how you can leverage our expertise in your community.
If you would like to participate in one of our programs, please contact us.
Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers (CHW) are trusted community members trained as health workers who provide culturally relevant education, referrals and social support for healthy behaviors. The application for CHWs is endless – from exercise classes to financial capability training to coordination of medical care, community health workers are trained to adapt to the needs of their communities.
Acting as liaisons, CHWs provide essential support in navigating complex health topics and social needs. These individuals develop trainings and forums to support communities in medical, social, and environmental changes. In addition, CHWs can help overcome language and cultural barriers to provide resources. We offer CHW programs that suit the needs of each community and address barriers such as language, childcare, and other obstacles that keep individuals from having good health.
SeaTac/Tukwila is one of the nation’s most diverse communities – from language and cultural background to country-of-origin, and socioeconomic circumstance. As existing community members from similar cultural backgrounds, CHWs have been able to establish trust within the Somali, Latino, and Eritrean/Ethiopian communities. Global to Local has partnered with a local YMCA, a community center, and an affordable housing community to provide programs that combine physical activity with personalized support. CHWs have also offered nutrition and financial awareness classes, helping to close the gap between clinical care and a healthier lifestyle.
Our weight-loss program for Latina women at the Matt Griffin YMCA in SeaTac provides an example of the effectiveness of CHW-led programs. Participants join one-hour classes twice a week for eight weeks, where they are led through aerobic and strength training exercises. Throughout the program, participants receive weekly remote case management that is personalized to help them lose weight and become healthier. An evaluation of several eight-week cycles showed that participants who completed an eight-week cycle lost an average of 3.6 pounds.
A Connection Desk bridges social and health services to directly address the underlying issues of poor health outcomes. Serving as a physical space for information and referrals, clients are connected to available resources in the community that will better their health and overall well-being.
Best located within a clinic or hospital setting, physicians direct medical patients in need of social services to a Connection Desk to identify opportunities for food, housing, employment, health insurance, language skills training and other available social services. As a result, physicians and case workers are better able to focus on clinical care during appointments. Staffed by volunteer interns from local universities, the Connection Desk is a cost effective and invaluable community resource.
In May 2013, G2L launched the first Connection Desk in partnership with HealthPoint. South King County hosts the nation’s most diverse communities with more than 70 distinct linguistic groups represented including newly arrived immigrants, refugees seeking asylum, second-generation immigrants, and longtime residents. Communication, lack of cultural competency and effective translation barriers exacerbate challenges around access to services including affordable housing, transportation, employment, and health access.
A physical space in HealthPoint’s lobby, the Connection Desk was designed to be accessed in person or by phone. This service, more accessible than the many social services located 13 miles away in Seattle, helps people identify and obtain food, transportation, employment and language training. Staffed by University of Washington and Seattle University students who speak a variety of languages, this program has provided more than 8,000 resource referrals. And over the last three years, 87% of people who received Connection Desk help have successfully accessed at least one service. This service allows providers to focus on health-related problems and refer social needs to people better equipped to provide solutions. However, many referrals also come from local community based organizations who have come to know the Connection Desk as a community resource.
In 2018, Global to Local supported HealthPoint to launch a new Connection Desk at their Tukwila clinic, which they are now independently operating.
In 2019, Global to Local is providing support and technical expertise in transferring management of the SeaTac Connection Desk program to Lutheran Community Services Northwest, a nonprofit human services agency. This ensures long-term program sustainability and local ownership of this resource in this community. Global to Local continues to provide support and technical expertise during the transfer.
The Mobile Health program builds on global health’s success using mobile phones as important health care delivery tools, and applies the strategy locally to address chronic disease in some of our most diverse and low-income communities. With innovative technologies, we’re bridging the patient-provider gap while working within the means of these communities to facilitate long-term sustainable changes.
In India, Bangladesh, and China, SMS-based mobile health interventions have been used to deliver diabetes-related health information, resulting in increased health literacy and improved health outcomes. Like residents of those countries, communities in SeaTac and Tukwila face socioeconomic barriers that have contributed to the increased incidence of chronic disease, poor health behaviors, and a shortened lifespan. SeaTac/Tukwila residents experience significantly higher rates of diabetes than the King County average, and are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from diabetes-related complications.
Our Mobile Health program uses technology to address this disparity. We connect patients with a simple, powerful diabetes management smartphone app. Patients are trained to use the app to track their blood glucose levels, diet, exercise, and mood. Case managers provide them with expertise, reminders, and encouragement via text messages.
At the end of our yearlong pilot study, more than one-third of participants had significantly improved their diabetes management, reducing their risk of eye, kidney and nerve disease by approximately 40 percent, and diabetes-related death by 21 percent. In addition to providing health benefits, the program reduced health care costs. Just six months after the end of the pilot study, approximate savings amounted to $556.50 per patient in averted health care costs.
Global Health Strategy
- Use of technology to transform community health practices
A.J. McClure (206) 379-6051
Our leadership and engagement programs support health and community resiliency through mobilization and leadership development. This work includes both ongoing community engagement as well as specific programs. Our main program trains trusted community members to serve as “Connectors” between local government and diverse communities. These leaders work directly with city staff to ensure equitable community engagement. We are also designing a new program to provide training and a pathway for diverse community members to take on organizational and civic leadership roles themselves.
Over the last two decades, demographics have shifted dramatically in South King County; currently, more than a third of residents in the SeaTac/Tukwila area are immigrants. Historically, community engagement strategies developed by and for white, US-born residents don’t effectively reach all residents. Government services are still evolving to reach ethnically diverse residents in this area.
The cities of Tukwila and Burien have contracted Global to Local to recruit active, interested participants in its programs to serve as “Connectors” between city staff and diverse communities. These Connectors participate in a “City 101” training to familiarize them with the roles of the city council, mayor’s office, city departments, and the budgeting and comprehensive planning processes. Connectors have been involved in the creation of community gardens, resident surveys, and community safety events with the police and fire departments. G2L has provided thousands of hours of mentorship and training to more than 50 new community leaders.
While the Connectors programs have allowed progress to be made, there remains a great need for increased community leadership and engagement. It has become increasingly clear that investing in local leadership is core to the local capacity to achieve change. We’re co-designing a leadership class with South King County partners to build capacity for community-led solutions that align with community priorities.
Global Health Strategies
- Building local capacity
A.J. McClure (206) 379-6051
Food Innovation Network
Our Food Innovation Network (FIN) brings community partners together to improve access to healthy food and spur economic development. The work is driven by Community Food Advocates, leaders who represent the diverse multi-cultural communities of South King County. Our food access work addresses racial inequity in our food system by creating a farm-to-fork distribution channel and connecting people to food. Our economic development efforts center on a Food Business Incubator and shared commercial kitchen.
FIN operates Tukwila Village Farmers Market and Namaste Farm Stand at Matt Griffin YMCA in partnership with the IRC New Roots program. From June through October, we sell fresh, local produce grown primarily by immigrants and refugees, and we accept SNAP/EBT and Fresh Bucks for payment.
In 2018, we began facilitating the South King Urban Agriculture Network of more than 15 partners focused on supporting land access opportunities and resource coordination for aspiring food growers; we have also provided a workshop about farming in King County for refugee and immigrant community members.
To further improve food access, we have hosted workshops on food resources; participants then shared these resources with their communities through presentations at ESL classes, social media posts, and other outreach. We also bring diverse communities together to learn about and enjoy healthy food at quarterly Community Kitchen Dinners, our annual Food and Community Resource Fair, and cooking classes.
To spur economic development, FIN’s Food Business Incubator pilot program has supported the launch of 12 new food businesses headed by low-income residents, mostly women from immigrant and refugee communities. In 2018, construction began on a new shared commercial kitchen and incubator facility that will open in spring 2020, allowing us to bring this program to scale.
Global Health Strategies
- Linking health with economic development
- Making catalytic investments to address market failures
Food Innovation Network Program Director:
Kara Martin (206) 850-2877