AmeriCorps members provide patient education in medically underserved communities

pccPCC Community Wellness is a network of 10 community health centers located on the west side of Chicago and nearby suburbs. Their mission is to improve health outcomes for medically underserved communities through the provision of high quality, affordable, and accessible primary health care and support services.  AmeriCorps members are assigned to a PCC community health center where they work closely with a team of healthcare professionals. Members serve by promoting healthy lifestyle choices to patients and the community throughout the life cycle. They provide individual patient education in the health center and in homes, and conduct community education through collaborating schools and churches. PCC AmeriCorps is active in city and regional coalitions such as the Chicago Breastfeeding Task Force, Building a Healthier Chicago, and the Collation to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. PCC offers a mentoring program, pairing AmeriCorps members with an appropriate profession based on their career path interests. PCC’s AmeriCorps program has been supporting PCC patients and community members since 1997. AmeriCorps participants follow a national model of service from the CNCS to move communities forward and contribute to the health and well-being of the individuals they work with. Participants learn valuable work skills and gain opportunities for extending their reach in the community through service.

The PCC AmeriCorps team aims to support healthy lifestyles throughout the lifecycle, while focusing on prevention of overweight youth and obesity. The AmeriCorps program works with the assistance of two teams, the Healthy Lifestyle team and the Breastfeeding Education team. Healthy Lifestyle members promote healthy eating habits and physical activity to children and families. PCC AmeriCorps members serve as health educators, functioning both in the clinic and the community. They impact the health and wellness of community members through health promotion, wellness activities and initiatives contributing to health improvements. Members from each team are placed at four PCC health clinics with the highest patient volume; PCC Austin, PCC Lake Street, PCC Salud, and PCC South Family Health Centers. AmeriCorps team members communicate directly with patients in PCC clinics, during home visits, and at other community venues like grocery stores and local park districts.

Read more on pg. 62 of Transforming Communities Through Service.

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