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Pfizer Provides Free Health Program to Reduce Health Disparities.

Successful Diabetes Health Education Toolkit Now Available Online

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Pfizer Health Solutions Inc (PHS), the care management subsidiary of Pfizer Inc, announced today that its community health program, Amigos en Salud(R)/Friends in Health(TM) is now available as an online toolkit for Community Health Centers and other health-related organizations around the country. The free materials illustrate how to implement a low-cost, community-based program to reduce health disparities among Hispanic and African American people with diabetes.

The program, available at http://www.amigosensalud.com/, relies on community health workers (CHW) who help people with diabetes learn important self-management skills, and serve as a "bridge" to community and health care system resources with the goal of improving health and lowering health care costs in local communities. Although similar CHW programs have been designed, the Amigos en Salud/Friends in Health is a comprehensive, effective health coaching model that integrates health workers into medical practice and is now being offered free of charge in order to support national efforts to reduce health disparities.

"We have tested and refined the Amigos en Salud/Friends in Health program in communities across the country to achieve our goal of providing a best-practice model for culturally relevant diabetes care," said John Sory, Vice President of PHS. "By making the program available online, we hope that organizations across the US will adopt this proven model to improve care, reduce health disparities and ultimately lower health care costs in their communities."

"This program has been instrumental in our practice to address various issues within our population. Health care professionals working with diverse populations face many barriers to overcome such as language, literacy, cultural health care practices and beliefs and due to time constraints and lack of resources they are not able to address in every single patient. This program helped us to improve care for hundreds of people living with diabetes in our community, working closely with the community health worker in implementing the program we gained a better understanding about our patients' needs and developed interventions to address the needs of our community," said Maria Castellanos, RN, CDE, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Center for Clinical Research Excellence Core at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

The successful pilots of Amigos en Salud/Friends in Health were conducted in Hartford, CT, Laredo, TX, and Los Angeles, CA, where over 1,500 participants were enrolled in a randomized controlled study. The results have shown statistically significant improvements in clinical, behavioral and mental health outcomes in patients enrolled in the program compared to patients receiving standard provider care and nurse-directed diabetes care.

The Amigos en Salud/Friends in Health website provides step-by-step details for community health care organizations to develop the program, recruit and train CHWs, implement the program and measure results. It also provides culturally appropriate educational materials, a program graduation toolkit, a database for program evaluation, and tips on how to publicize local programs.

"I firmly believe that the Amigos en Salud program has positively impacted those patients who participated," said Miguel Trevino Jr, Chief Executive Officer at Gateway Community Health Center. "Well-educated patients who commit to learn more about their chronic disease benefits not only themselves, but their entire family and the health care provider. The Amigos en Salud Program has definitely made a positive impact for many of the people we serve."

"Diabetes, which disproportionately affects Hispanics and African Americans, is often accompanied by other serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and depression that require lifestyle changes in diet, physical activity, and blood sugar management," said Joseph Gallegos, Vice President of Operations for the Western Region of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). Gallegos noted, "This program serves as one example of best practices that can be found in Community Health Centers around the country that Latinos and other minority groups call their medical home." According to Gallegos, 1 in 7 patients served by Community Health Centers are minorities -- 36% are Hispanic/Latino, 23% are African American, 3.4% are Asian Pacific Islanders and 1.1% American Indian/Alaskan Native. "By virtue of coming from a minority background, mostly low-income and uninsured, places them at greater risk and they face numerous barriers (language, cultural, financial) and most often lack access to care," noted Gallegos.

Designed to support -- not replace -- physician- and nurse-directed diabetes care, Amigos en Salud/Friends in Health helps participants make these lifestyle changes and achieve clinical and behavioral health outcomes that mirror the American Diabetes Association standards of care. "Pfizer Health Solutions in partnership with community health centers are truly making a difference in the quality of life for these patients," said Gallegos. "Now that the public health community has a best practice resource for implementing a CHW program, we encourage them to take advantage of it."

About Pfizer Health Solutions

Pfizer Health Solutions, the wholly-owned care management subsidiary of Pfizer Inc, partners with health care and community organizations to implement patient-centered programs that focus on prevention, disease management and care coordination to improve patient health and efficiency of health care delivery. To learn more, visit http://www.pfizerhealthsolutions.com/.

CONTACT: Zhania Salcedo of Pfizer Health Solutions Inc, +1-212-733-1876; Chad Hyett of Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., +1-212-453-2493, for Pfizer Health Solutions Inc

Web site: http://www.pfizerhealthsolutions.com/ http://www.amigosensalud.com/
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