March 6, 2008       Contact: Kathy Barton 713-794-9998 or
                                                                                Porfirio Villarreal at 713-794-9021

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) will spearhead an assessment of Houston’s Near Northside to identify health-related issues.   

Approximately 230 HDHHS employees and 20 community volunteers will visit about 9,000 homes April 9-12 to distribute information packets featuring community resources located within Near Northside neighborhoods. HDHHS employees will then spend the next two months following up on the residents’ immediate needs.

Assessment, Intervention and Mobilization (AIM) projects conducted by HDHHS seek to evaluate and improve the ability of residents to manage their health and well-being. They also help link residents to needed health care or human services.

A group of about 50 HDHHS employees will return to Near Northside neighborhoods May 6-13 to survey about 500 residents on health issues. They will query residents about issues that include chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure, difficulties obtaining health care, medication management and nutritional habits.

Other issues include the residents’ current health and well-being, mental health, physical problems interfering with normal, day-to-day activities, exercise, physical pain, smoking habits and exposure to second-hand smoke.

HDHHS will follow up to ensure residents have received referrals for services and that agencies are indeed providing the assistance needed.

HDHHS uses AIM projects to help improve communication among residents of Houston neighborhoods and agencies and decision-makers who can respond to concerns and boost coordination efforts to address public health needs. The projects also help HDHHS obtain statistical information to determine a community’s health status and needs and improve its staff’s readiness to respond to natural or man-made disasters.

HDHHS has conducted AIM projects the last year and a half in Sunnyside, Independence Heights, Magnolia Park and in the Tri-Community area comprised of Clinton Park, Fidelity and Clinton View neighborhoods.

For more information, call HDHHS at 713-794-9999 or the City of Houston helpline 311.