Multicultural Health Foundation
Mission Statement: The Multicultural Health Foundation’s mission is to bring health, justice, and wellness to the multicultural communities of San Diego County by focusing resources on the most vulnerable populations with social-clinical interventions, community-based wellness strategies, and research that leads to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities.
Advancing Health and Wellness: The Multicultural Health Foundation partners with both for-profit and non-profit entities to deliver quality healthcare interventions to medically underserved populations in the San Diego region.
Its flagship project, the Patient Health Improvement Initiative (PHII), is based on the “hot-spotting” model developed by Dr. Jeffrey Brenner in Camden, N.J. In that approach, a multidisciplinary care team works closely with the highest utilizers of health services in a given community to move them from medical crisis to long-term stability.
In San Diego, the PHII focuses its work on patients living in the city’s underserved neighborhoods. Generally, these patients have five or more chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. Most have some form of mental illness, and nearly all need social support, such as adequate housing or transportation.
The PHII care team works closely with these patients, starting with a comprehensive home visit, offering 24/7 clinical-social support. Team members help the patients get the healthcare they need, when they need it. And they coordinate social services, such as transportation, to ensure the patients have the resources they need for long-term stability.
Along the way, they teach patients how to take care of themselves, becoming their own advocates in the process. As a result, these patients’ health has improved dramatically while the cost of their care has decreased significantly. These patients had 31 percent fewer Emergency Room visits, 22 percent fewer hospital admissions and spent 49 percent less time in the hospital than before enrolling in this program.
The foundation has developed a sustainable business model that reinvests a portion of these cost savings in the community to prevent chronic diseases and to promote wellness.
Beyond this program, the foundation is forming the Health Equity Action Think Tank (HEATT) to serve as a collaborative central voice to shape public policies affecting the health of multicultural communities in the county and beyond.
In all, the Multicultural Health Foundation is re-imagining medical care in underserved communities, potentially serving as a model for the state and the country.
Description: Dr. Rodney G. Hood and Dr. Richard Butcher, two African American physicians and a handful of dedicated healthcare professionals, based in Southeastern San Diego, worked for years to establish an organization that would improve the long-term health of patients in underserved communities. Their dream was realized when the Multicultural Health Foundation was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2012.
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