The Adventist Community Services (ACS) at Mount Sinai Church, Orlando, Fla., does more than distribute food and clothing; it shares hope and restores wholeness in many ways.
The primary function of ACS is to respond and meet the essential needs of people in everyday situations and during disasters. Considering the health disparities and inequities existing among specific groups in society, Mount Sinai ACS considers it a moral imperative to implement proven approaches to the societal disaster.
Many people lack access to quality affordable healthcare services and resources, which causes a decline in their health, resulting in poor quality of life. To address this problem, Mount Sinai partnered with the Central Florida Black Nurses Association (CFBNA) of Orlando to provide community health workers training. Community health workers are trained to connect people with resources.
Nurses of the CFBNA taught the 30-hour class weekly from October 1 to December 3, 2022. During the lively and interactive classes, the students learned how to assess the needs of community residents, be educators on ways to prevent diseases, and advocate to help individuals to gain access to quality and affordable health services and resources. More than 25 ASC volunteers, church members, and community participants attended the training to help improve the health and well-being of residents in the community.
A grand and celebratory graduation was held at Mount Sinai Church on Sabbath afternoon, December 3, 2022. Excitement filled the room as the CHW graduates entered. Derrick Moffett, D.Min., senior pastor and invited speaker, addressed the graduates and nurses, expressing appreciation for their participation in the training. The CHW students conveyed gratitude for the training and shared heartwarming testimonials of how they will use the information on health and wellness in their own lives. One by one, each indicated that they felt ready to educate others on available health resources to improve health equity. The training expanded the reach of ACS at Mount Sinai, making a difference by yielding a workforce of individuals well-equipped to work with the ACS volunteers and health professionals to improve the health and wellbeing of the community.
The collaboration between ACS at Mount Sinai Church and the CFBNA of Orlando yielded a successful community outreach and a bond between the partners. The united efforts of these partners for a common cause addressed the health inequity problem. Participants were recruited: Lesli Ahonkhai, Mount Sinai Church Family Resource Center board member and former community services leader, is commended for expanding the scope of ACS by taking action to organize and promote this training. The CHW classes are taught by registered nurses Constance Brown; Monique Farrington, D.N.P.; Juanita Green; June Robinson, Ed.D.; Audrey Rounds; Lea Turnbull; Edna Sankey; and Jennifer Sankey, Ph.D., president of CFBNA of Orlando. The RISE Grant funds were used for the Community Health Workers training. The grant administrator, Lawanna Gelzer, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, recognized the dire need for this program and offered full support.
All the partners agree that this was a worthwhile endeavor, and have plans to continue the community health workers training for the benefit of the community and the church. The project reinforces that ACS leaders can explore new ways to meet the needs of people in the communities.
Southeastern | March 2023