Partnerships Resources in Communities Helps Encourage Solutions (RICHES)
Women in North Carolina suffer from a variety of health problems and often lack access to healthcare services and information. As the person often responsible for the health and health care of their families, these women also play a vital role in the health of communities. And, when women become pregnant, their pre-pregnancy health and health behaviors often impact the health of the baby.
Many women, particularly women living in poverty or working women without insurance, seek services from community-based organizations and non-profits. With health organizations and health-related non-profit agencies scattered across the state doing good work, women in North Carolina would benefit if these agencies were connected to each other and to larger statewide efforts. In addition, the quickly changing demographics in North Carolina demand that organizations serving Latinas and other linguistic and cultural groups have access to resources that benefit the women they serve.
In 2007, the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation received a grant from the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation for a one-year pilot project. During the pilot year, the RICHES project identified and partnered with community-based organizations across North Carolina that work directly with women of childbearing years on health and health-related issues. A particular emphasis was placed on providing support and information to community-based organizations that server the low-income and minority women, including Latinas.
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RICHES Goals and Outcomes :
GOAL 1: Identify community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve women of reproductive age and develop a statewide resource directory.
GOAL 2: Facilitate regional networking meetings for the RICHES partner agencies for the purpose of sharing information on best practice models for women's health, identifying current trends in women's health in North Carolina, networking and giving input into the development of a women's health toolkit to be used by CBOs.
OUTCOME: Six regional meetings were held across the state, with more than 120 attendees representing a broad range of community-based organizations.
GOAL 3: Create and distribute a toolkit of women's health resources for utilization by community-based organizations. Produce educational materials that support women.
OUTCOME: An electronic toolkit, including links to RICHES partnering agencies, statewide resources and health education materials was created. Creation of a self-help "Women's Health Journal" in English and Spanish which includes: information for women on important health screenings and tests; tips for healthy living; places to record medical information and test results, family history and questions to ask healthcare providers.
Next Steps for RICHES:
Distribution of new health education materials -- RICHES partner agencies provided invaluable feedback during the development phase of two new health education materials. Fall of 2008, a newly developed "Women's Health Journal" in English and Spanish will be distributed, along with a new poster - "It's Time to Take Care of You" targeting Spanish-speaking women. The women's health journal and Spanish poster will be available to RICHES partner agencies, and other women's health service providers through the NCHSF.
Fall 2008 Regional Trainings - Community-based organizations serving women of reproductive age are invited to attend one of the RICHES regional trainings to be held across the state in October and November 2008. Attend and learn more about the women's health toolkit, women's health journal and the launch of the 2008 - 2009 Community Grants Program.