Health Ambassadors in the Community and on the Radio

As the anchor of HIP-Cuyahoga’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) activities, the PRCHN has trained two cohorts of Cleveland residents to act as Community Health Ambassadors. These Ambassadors are working to improve health equity in their communities and help act as the voice of their communities around health issues.

Health Ambassador James Jones, REACH Fellow Erika Hood, and Health Ambassador GiGi Elder

Community Health Ambassadors James Jones from Glenville and GiGi Elder from Collinwood have taken that charge one step further: they are the voice of two Public Service Announcements promoting HIP-Cuyahoga’s Community Day on September 10th.  Both were part of the first cohort of Community Health Ambassadors trained by PRCHN staff. The Health Ambassadors are actively involved in building health equity within their own neighborhoods. (See the July 2016 issue of the PRCHN Connection for updates on the work of other Community Health Ambassadors.)
In addition to recording the radio spots, Jones, Elder, and REACH staff participated in a remote event with Radio One at Hayden Food Plus in East Cleveland. Radio personalities from WZAK, REACH staff, and Health Ambassadors gave away prizes, engaged residents, and promoted Community Day and the great work being done through HIP-Cuyahoga.

Hayden is one of the Healthy Retail Initiative’s Good Food Here store. The Healthy Retail Initiative works to increase access to healthy foods, especially in neighborhoods not served by a supermarket and where residents primarily rely on convenience or corner stores for basic food needs. Many of these corner stores are small and primarily stock snack food or processed foods, not fresh vegetables, fresh fruits or other healthy foods, such as whole grains. The PRCHN manages the Healthy Retail Initiative.

The Community Health Ambassadors are actively helping to plan Community Day, which will be held on September 10, 2016 from 10-2 at Friendly Inn Settlement at 2386 Unwin Rd in Cleveland. This event will feature the work of the Community Health Ambassadors and offer networking opportunities, kids’ activities, exercise demonstrations, and community resources. There will be food, giveaways, raffle prizes, entertainment, and all will be live broadcast on 93.1 WZAK

Get to know Community Health Ambassador GiGi Elder

1. How did you first learn about HIP-Cuyahoga and the Community Health Ambassador training?

Through Neighborhood Leadership Institute and Don Slocum.

2. Being a Community Health Ambassador requires a tremendous commitment on your part in terms of time and energy. What made you decide the commitment was worth it?

I have a passion for better health. I wish to have us go back to growing our own food so we can always eat and be healthy. I believe that if we had a greater availability to clean food we could end disease.

3. What are your longer-term goals as a Community Health Ambassador? What would you like to accomplish individually and what would you like the CHAs as a group to be known for?

I am working to get better food in every school. I want us to be a model for other cities to follow where we collaborate with communities to combine efforts and expand services so when we look at our children and someone asks “How are the children?” We can say “In optimal health.”