Recognizing that racial and ethnic minorities often experience challenged access to medical care, Suburban Hospital has worked with the many project partners, community clinics, local health collations, and community leader to identify health disparities among several minority groups within Montgomery County, along with expanding culturally appropriate services. To that end, Suburban Hospital has established successful links with four Latino health initiative partners: Latino Health Initiative, CASA, Proyecto Salud Clinic, and Community Ministries of Rockville.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African American men and woman. In Montgomery County, the African American Health Program works toward eliminating health disparities and improving the number of years and quality of life for African Americans. To aid in that goal, Suburban Hospital partners with the African American Health Coalition to decrease risk factors and health disparities in heart disease and stroke for Montgomery County residents. Also, Suburban Hospital health educators serve on the steering committee of the AAHP's Cardiovascular Disease Coalition to promote awareness and education for community residents, health professionals and decision makers about cardiovascular disease trends and risk factors, along with recommended policies and best practices for prevention and treatment.
The power of partnership is easily defined when considering Suburban Hospital’s support of the African American Health Program’s faith based initiative, Glorifying Our Spiritual and Physical Existence for Life Program. For the past five years, Suburban’s Community Health and Wellness Department has provided the G.O.S.P.E.L. Heart Health Symposium with free health professional consultations and cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure screenings. In May 2009, Suburban Hospital hosted a heart health event for nearly 100 participants at the Recipe for a Healthy Heart G.O.S.P.E.L. Symposium.
Montgomery County's diversity stems from its myriad ethnic groups. For example, Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States, whom originate from more than 52 different Asian countries with more than 800 languages and dialects. This extraordinary diversity creates many cultural and linguistic barriers and contributes disproportionately to health inequalities among the various Asian groups.
Suburban Hospital's longstanding relationship with Montgomery County’s Asian American Health Program and Mobile Med’s Pan Asian Clinic helps bridge the gap in inadequate healthcare by collaborating on efforts aimed at reducing health disparities affecting this population. Prevention projects like providing free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings to the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, and education initiatives provided by the first Asian American Health Conference have improved culturally appropriate approaches to providing critical healthcare information. These programs have also allowed new Montgomery County residents access to healthcare resources who may not otherwise have found them.