Improving Health Outcomes Through Collaboration: Impact Assessment on Managing Metabolic Syndrome in the Austin Community of Chicago


Reducing the high incidence of metabolic syndrome especially among older people living in low income communities is a goal of the health system. Residents of the Austin community of Chicago suffer from a heavy burden of health issues related to metabolic syndrome leading to disproportionally higher morbidity and mortality rates from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver and renal disease. Health resources exist in this community, but limited access to qualified health information, accessible health related services and the failure to seek and find appropriate clinical services on a timely basis, adversely affect individual health outcomes. Collaborative community health-based partnerships have been found to improve health outcomes (Carrillo et al., 2011, pp. 1955-1964) In 2012, the City of Chicago in collaboration with Loretto Hospital, the South Austin Community Coalition Council and the Austin Senior Satellite Center, initiated a weekly health education program to improve the health outcomes of seniors in the community. This study examines the impact of this collaborative effort on stress and hypertension of people over the age of 50 years, which are among the health issues related to metabolic syndrome and the ways in which the community members understand and manage their health. The results indicate that this collaborative partnership reduces stress, helps to control hypertension and increases participants knowledge, understanding, awareness and ability to manage their health. The results also show the benefits of a safe, secure and supportive environment in which the participants can socialize and receive qualified, culturally competent, health information and learn about appropriate, and affordable health services. This study serves as a model for reducing and controlling metabolic syndrome by promoting increased collaboration among government, medical and other health providers, and community-based organizations that provide support for seniors.

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