Urban Healthcare Initiative Program New Jersey

Health Literacy Services
UHIP is a new approach to providing comprehensive health care in inner city communities. A non-profit community based program founded by Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, UHIP’s mission is to educate inner city underserved residents where they congregate, regarding the health issues impacting their lives. All health literacy services are provided directly to identified populations in community based locations where  groups of individuals congregate – such as houses of worship, community centers, senior citizen housing facilities, treatment programs,  barbershops, hair salons, job centers, etc..  We identify centers of need and reach out to provide services.

UHIP is founded on the basic principle that “Knowledge is Power.” The more you understand your health and how the “human machine” works the better you are able to make informed decisions concerning treatment plans and the care for your body. UHIP’s strives to improve education, screenings, and medical management tools around our seven health pillars: Diabetes/Obesity, Hypertension/Cardiovascular Disease, COPD, Chronic Kidney Disease, HIV & Infectious Diseases, Cancer Screenings and Aging/Dementia/Depression/Dying. Let’s learn to live a healthier life.  The target population is primarily African-Americans and Hispanic, and other in-need individuals ages 18 and older, living in these disenfranchised communities.

UHIP mission is based on the foundation that “Everyone is Entitled to Quality Health Care”
UHIP utilizes basic health literacy training and patient-centered health care strategies to improve outcomes for health problems directly affecting our communities. UHIP promotes low cost preventive care, regular medical screenings, self advocacy, and coordinates the provision of primary care services to individuals who may otherwise not have access to receive such services. We strives to increase patient healthcare knowledge and provider accountability around the above “health pillars,.” 

Based upon the fundamental principles of the program being patient education we have found that when a patient is equipped with knowledge, they are much more likely to take a proactive self-advocating approach to their healthcare. UHIP offers understanding for comprehensive health assessments, screenings, case management, educational programs, and support services to ensure the highest quality of care. Most importantly, UHIP strives to educate clients in developing healthier lifestyle choices (eating, exercise, regular check-ups, and seeing the wellness care needs in others).

UHIP’s Seven Pillars of Health

Population Served

The inner city communities UHIP serves in many ways have a mistrust for the medical community. In many cases waiting until a health condition becomes a serious issue and then depending of the hospital emergency department to fix it.  This leads to unnecessary hospital visits and a need for more aggressive care when finally treated.  Our program educates the patient/client to understand illness warning signs and disease progression for conditions like diabetes, heart disease/hypertension, kidney disease, COPD, etc..

Importance of Self Advocacy for Health Care

On a regular medical visit to your medical provider, support staff take your basic medical information, vitals and perform needed screenings. The medical providers comes in to the exam room to interact with the patient for an average of 10 to 15 minutes during the entire medical visit. He/She provides a summation of finding, formulates a treatment plan with recommended follow-up testing as needed, and writes necessary prescriptions. The patient is then returned to support staff for discharge planning. For the population we serve, in too many cases the patient leaves the medical visit without having a clear understanding of their medical condition, understanding of the treatment plan, nor understanding of the purpose for the medications prescribed.  This in many cases leads to the patient not adhering to recommended action plan, follow-up testings, and medication regiment instructions. As a result this may lead to less than optimal medical outcomes. Improved health literacy helps to improve the patient’s invested in the treatment plan and medication regiment leading to more positive outcomes.

UHIP, through our variety of community outreach health talk services, teaches a basic understanding of our seven pillars of health. Our training sessions help to promote self advocacy for patients interacting with medical providers. Learning to ask questions until you fully understand the services being provided. We teach that it is ok and vitally necessary to say repeatedly “I don’t understand – can you please say that in terms I can understand. For medication prescriptions it is ok ask why am I taking this medication, how will this medication improve my conditions, and what are the side effects and dangers associated with this medication. Improved “Health Literacy” helps the patient to become more apart of the treatment plan and not just the non participating subject of the planning process.

How is UHIP Moving Forward During this Coronavirus Pandemic

UHIP continues to be a community based initiative.  With the new social norms imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic UHIP, like many other service providers, is transitioning to social media meetings to reach our audience. We are still meeting with the community where they congregate – online through video conferencing and face-to-face where possible. This is a transition period for all involved but we as a community will get through this together.

UHIP has always been a totally outreach program taking our services directly to the community we serve. UHIP partners with local community based organizations, behavioral and transitional living centers, houses of worship, and civic groups and others to bring our services to vulnerable populations where they congregate. UHIP’s health educators and medical partners take our services directly to the community in coordination with our growing base of community partners.

UHIP “Ask the Doctor” Montclair NJ AARP presentation

UHIP’s Community Partners

Some of our community partners include: Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOPHealthcare.com), AARP of the Oranges, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Newark Urban League, Whole Cities Foundation, Jewish Renaissance Vocational Services, Sinai Post-Acute Nursing Center, Newark and East Orange Housing Authorities, New Horizon Behavioral Health, Rutgers University-Advocates for Healthy Living Initiative, Essex County Mental Health Association, St. Mary’s Hospital-Seton Center, Alarais Health at St. Mary’s Orange.  Shelter/Housing service locations include [Newark] Nevada House, Angel Hope House, Sunrise Care, Court Towers, [Orange] Washington Manor Senior, [East Orange] The Pavilion, Harmon Grove, Haven Manor. Church partners include [Newark] New Hope Baptist Church, Saint James AME Church, Bethany Baptist Church, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Better Life Wellness Center, [East Orange] New Hope Baptist Church, Messiah Baptist Church, [Irvington] Jerusalem Baptist Church, [Montclair] Union Baptist Church and others.

Please contact UHIP to arrange services your community program or event.