Our mission is to provide access to health services for the underserved, primarily Hispanic Community, in Jefferson and Shelby Counties.
Who we serve
We serve Jefferson and Shelby County Residents. We primarily serve Hispanics, but will see anyone regardless of race, age, sex, or religion.
Brief Overview The Board of Cahaba Valley Health Care was formed in April 2000. We conducted a needs assessment among Latinos and discovered that the major needs of this community were vision care, dental care, and acute care.
CVHC provides access to health services for the Hispanic Community in central Alabama.
We make our services more available to the Hispanic Community by addressing three barriers that Hispanics have regarding their ability to access needed health services. The three barriers are:
1. Access -- Many in the Hispanic Community find it difficult to access normal medical care because medical hours are not conducive to those with hourly jobs working 6-7 days a week. By conducting screenings in churches with Hispanic congregations on Sunday afternoons, we provide our services at times and places that are easily accessible to the Hispanic Community.
2. Cultural Sensitivity -- Many in the Hispanic Community find it imposing to deal with medical personnel that do not speak Spanish, and are not sensitive to their specific cultural issues. Approximately 70% of screening volunteers/staff speak Spanish and many are Hispanic. Those who do not speak Spanish have an interpreter at his/her station. All of our literature and charts are in Spanish and English.
3. Trust -- Many in the Hispanic Community --specifically those who are undocumented- find it difficult to trust the medical establishment. The Hispanic Community trusts us primarily because their churches trust us and they trust their churches.
Vision: In 2001 we began our services with vision care. Our vision screenings are performed by licensed optometrists, assisted by volunteers at each screening. We provide new fitted reading glasses that have been donated or purchased. Persons present for vision screening who need further care are referred for full exams and specialty services to one of our collaborators, a member of our network of private practitioners, or to the CVHC Vision Referral Clinic that occur four times a year.
Nutrition:In 2006, we identified nutrition education as a basic need for our clients. We decided that our screenings should include information on reading food labels as well as information about the food pyramid. The CVHC nutrition program was presented at our screenings for the first time in January of 2007.
Dental: We began offering dental screenings on December 7, 2003 performed by volunteer dentists licensed to practice in the state of Alabama. We also provide interpreters at our referral clinics. At the clinics patients may receive fillings, X-rays, extractions, and cleanings.
Dental Education: We have developed a Dental Hygiene Education Program for both children and adults. The purpose of this project is to provide our patients, primarily Hispanic children, dental health education programs in conjunction with preventive programs. This presentation is made to all of our screening attendees. This presentation includes colorful and useful instruction in brushing, flossing and dental nutrition. After this, patients receive a toothbrush, toothpaste, egg timer, to demonstrate how long to brush teeth, and floss.
The uniqueness of Cahaba Valley Health Care
We have only 8 paid employees. Our screenings and follow up clinics are otherwise staffed by volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists, ophthalmologists, Spanish students, and other community volunteers. We also have volunteers from advanced Spanish classes at local universities, high school students, dental students, and optometry students.
Our screenings are held at times and places that are accessible to the Hispanic population—on Sunday afternoons at local churches. They are also culturally sensitive, with at least one Spanish speaker at every station, and we serve individuals without regard to ability to pay or immigration status. We publicize screenings on our web site, through radio announcements, at churches, and through ESL classes. Hispanic ministers also distribute flyers.
CVHC conducts screenings at Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Christian, Baptist, Episcopal, and non-denominational churches.