613 Park Avenue, East Orange, New Jersey 07017
The Seven Pillars of Health…
Keystone of Community Health Outreach…
The Seven Pillars of Health essentially became the keystone of the community outreach that started as SHOP (Senior Healthcare Outreach Program) under Dr. Alfonse Salerno in 2001. That outreach relied on the Baptist church community, including pastors, deacons and elders, and patients in one senior housing project in particular. The church leaders knew who and where the people with needs were, including those with psychiatric/adult disorders. It was also the origin of what is today the House Call Program, which was— and still is— primarily for seniors and aging folks living at home. It is not always easy for the aged and infirmed, especially with weather, transportation and all kinds of issues of getting out and about. With unattended health issues, their isolation and immobility tend to get worse, and then you have the snowball effect.
The second generation of Salerno Medical Associates (SMA), Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, took the lessons he learned from his late father and extended community outreach into CHOP (Community Healthcare Outreach Program) and UHIP (Urban Healthcare Initiative Program).
“I just expanded on the house call model to provide house calls in churches and civic centers and barber shops and food pantries and, you know, behavioral health centers and places like that where people congregate,” says Dr. Salerno, Chief of Staff of SMA and founder of UHIP and CHOP. “We strive to increase patient healthcare knowledge and provider accountability around the seven health pillars,”
What Are the Seven Pillars of Health?
1. Diabetes/Obesity—The chances of you being obese and having diabetes ar quite high and too often interchangeable. When you address diabetes and obesity, you may also be addressing heart disease, stroke, multiple types of cancer and obstructive sleep apnea. Obesity alone is such a driving common denominator today, and all those other health problems will come along for the ride if you don’t take action.
2. Hypertension/Cardiovascular Disease— They are closely tied. Heart disease is the greatest killer of both men and women. Hypertension or high blood pressure has its ties to heart attacks and heart failure, as well as other diseases, and it is especially dangerous because this “silent killer” has no obvious symptoms
3.COPD — Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can slowly suffocate you to death if unattended. Heavy smoking is still quite prevalent among the populace served by UHIP. Many of them only have a chance if they can be reached through community intervention.
4. Chronic Kidney Disease— Chronic disease management is a high priority for the UHIP team, and that means educating patients to take preventive measures, screening them to determining the disease’s extent and then treating them.
5. HIV & Infectious Diseases— There is a lot of recreational and addictive drug use out there and this can be a source of both HIV and Hepatitis C, which is curable if detected and treated.
6. Cancer Screenings — Our role in dealing with the various cancers out there is identifying the problem via screening with a diagnosis and subsequently a referral to a specialist.
7. Aging/Dementia/Depression/Dying— The end stages of life are all too common in the community we serve. Many have a chronic disease by the time we reach them. A significant number are elderly and financially distressed.
“What started at a senior housing complex in 2001 kind of progressively redefined itself, changing me, society and community. I think all for the better,” Dr. Salerno says.