Community Health Mission receives the Healthy Communities/Healthy America Awards

Community Health Mission awarded a Health Communities/Health America Awards.

 

CHM is one of 8 around the nation to received this recognition.

In response to the growing health needs of the uninsured, hundreds of communities nationwide have developed free clinics.

These non-profit clinics bring together health care professionals and other community volunteers to offer free or low cost health care to low-income, uninsured and under-insured people. Funding is generally raised on the local level and there is little if any government funding or support.

While the AMA advocates for greater access to care, the AMA Foundation supports these efforts by recognizing the extraordinary physicians and volunteers working at these free clinics to provide immediate and affordable health care. Through the Healthy Communities/Healthy America program, the AMA Foundation awards $10,000-$25,000 grants to physician-led free clinics.

To date, AMA Foundation has awarded over $750,000 to 41 free clinics across the country. The program is supported by a contribution from Lilly USA, LLC. Additional funding is provided by Don Q. Mitchell, MD and Mary Sue Mitchell, and other generous donors. To read more about the other 2011 receipients Click here Community Health Mission fights “silent killer”  John Newton, La Voz Latina, Savannah, Ga There’s a good reason diabetes is known as a “silent killer”. Because its symptoms can remain hidden and undiagnosed for years, many diabetics are unaware they have the disease, especially if they are uninsured and don’t get regular medical checkups. Insulin is a hormone that converts sugar in the blood into energy.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin properly. According to health and fitness expert Dr. Mehmet Oz, blood sugar stays in the bloodstream of a diabetic and can cause severe problems throughout the body. “Our blood vessels are very delicate,” he says. “Excess sugar is like pieces of glass shard scraping at it. In severe cases, a diabetic’s blood vessels look like bent straws that cut off blood flow to the legs. Diabetes causes scarring from the inside and that’s something no doctor can repair.” It’s estimated that between 70 and 80 million people in the United States have diabetes or are on the verge of developing it and the medical costs associated with its treatment are astounding.

Because so many people are affected, the United States is forced to spend $174 billion a year treating diabetes-more than AIDS and all cancers combined. For several years, Savannah’s Community Health Mission (CHM), led by Dr. Miriam Rittmeyer, has partnered with drug companies like Pfizer and agencies like the Coastal Georgia YMCA to help uninsured diabetics living in Chatham County manage their conditions and improve their health. “The YMCA not only provides us with space to conduct our diabetes classes but also offers our patients the free use of all its exercise and fitness facilities while they are enrolled in our diabetes classes,” Dr. Rittmeyer said. Last month, CHM started its latest diabetes management class, a 10-week program of medical education and life-style advice led by Anna Viseras, CHM Health Promotion and Education Programs Coordinator. The class meets for 90 minutes each Wednesday morning at the Habersham Street YMCA. Ana Viseras reminded class members of the risk factors associated with diabetes: 1) Being overweight 2) having a family history of the disease 3) having high blood pressure 4) having low HDL (good) cholesterol and 5) belonging to a high-risk ethnic group like African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. According to a recent survey, Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes and nearly half of Hispanic children born in the year 2000 are likely to develop diabetes during their lives. “We cannot change our genetics but our focus during these 10 weeks will be on those things we can change,” Dr. Viseras said. ” I am a passionate believer in the phrase ‘knowledge is power’. If we give people the knowledge and power to take control of their health, communities will be healthier and better prepared to face the challenges of life.” Ana Viseras also expressed her appreciation for the Habersham YMCA staff, including Audrey Rodriguez, who is the link between CHM and the YMCA as well as Bucky Johnson (President) and Aron Karpas (Habersham Branch Director).

“They are providing a great help to the community by allowing our low income and uninsured patients to meet there, as well as allowing them to use the facilities without charge,” Viseras said. diabetes group class Who are we? The Community Health Mission (CHM) is a private, non-for profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt med CHM has experienced enormous growth – in both patient volume and the complexity of services needed by our uninsured patients. However, while patient demand is increasing, access to funding is decreasing. In fact, at the present time, CHM gets no government assistance. Rather, we rely on the generosity of people like you to continue our work. For those of you who have previously donated to CHM we are very grateful, and ask that you renew you giving to us. For those of you who are newly acquainted with CHM, we ask that you accept this invitation to change people’s lives and consider how you can help us support the individuals in our community who need your assistance to become and remain healthy. For nearly 15 years, we have been providing free primary healthcare to adult individuals, ages 18 to 64 years old, who live or work in Chatham County and surrounding areas and who are uninsured (and do not quality for Medicare or Medicaid). In other words, we help those individuals who desperately need medical care but cannot afford to obtain it on their own. Sincerely, Miriam U Rittmeyer, PhD, MPH- CEO/ Executive Director

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