Submitted by Courtney Midkiff

MEIGS HEALTH MATTERS 4/28/19

Posted

In 2017, the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) was awarded the Appalachian Regional

Commission Power Grant funding via Marshall University and The Sisters’ Health Foundation to establish

a Community Health Worker (CHW) Program. This program is the first of its kind in Meigs County.

My name is Laura Grueser and I was hired as the first CHW for the MCHD. I am certified under the Ohio

Board of Nursing and trained to teach the Diabetes Self-Management, Chronic Pain Self-Management

and Chronic Disease Self-Management Courses. Part of my job as lead CHW is receiving referrals from

Holzer Health Systems, Hopewell Health Centers and soon, OhioHealth. I visit with patients, admit them

into the program and perform medicine reconciliations. I am responsible for all grant reporting. This

information is gathered by Marshall University and used to follow our progress in helping to lower

patient A1Cs and other health related issues. I, along with Kiera Frank, MCHD CHW, meet regularly with

Care Managers at the referring clinics. Many times, Kiera and I are in the patent homes and see

circumstances that the doctors cannot. We are able to speak about possible problems and work on

solutions.

Because I was raised in Meigs County, I know many of my patients. And if I don’t know them, I can

always find some common ground between us. Most often, I can talk about how I was raised, growing

our food and canning in the summer and butchering or hunting our own meat in the fall and winter. I’ve

learned that many people knew my mother (who worked at the Meigs County Library for many years) or

they know my dad because he poured concrete for them. There is always common ground and that’s

how I build rapport with people. And, I can truly help them change their lives for the better.

The CHW program is meant to educate and support Type II diabetics as they take the steps to learn self-

management techniques. As CHWs, we do our best to address the barriers to healthy living that many of

our patients face. Read further to learn more about how these barriers are addressed as explained by

Kiera.

My name is Kiera Frank. I am currently employed at the Meigs County Health Department as a full-time

CHW. I have been working in this position since May 2018.  

As one of the CHWs employed by the MCHD, my job is to work with various providers and clinical care

teams to assist high-risk patients with diabetes and co-morbidities. I visit these patients weekly with

home or in office visits to help improve health outcomes. Within these home visits, I am

to provide emotional and social support, link patients with resources and act as a liaison between the

patient and Community Action, food pantries, Job and Family Services and many more resources

available in our area. I also offer education to help patients better self-manage their diabetes. The

diabetes education I provide varies due to patient needs. Education examples include: reading nutrition

labels, providing healthier diabetes-friendly recipes, teaching patients to include exercise in their lives,

helping patients learn how to cook and actual preparation of meals in their home they can later on use

alone, and going on shopping trips to guide patients on how to efficiently purchase healthier choices to

include in their daily diet.

Being a CHW at the MCHD and working with diabetic patients, I feel as though I can personally relate to

many of my patients and the way they feel being a Type I diabetic myself. I was diagnosed at age eight

with Type I diabetes and have to live day-to-day with the challenges that come along with diabetes.

Although my diabetes is slightly different then the patients I visit, we face many of the same challenges.

Since being hired at the MCHD, I have completed the CHW certification course through Ohio University

and am now certified under the Ohio Board of Nursing. I have also been trained to lead Stanford

University Chronic Disease Self-Management and Chronic Pain Self-Management classes.

This coming September, our program will be featured in a PBS special produced by Structure Films

addressing diabetes.

For more information about the CHW Program, please call 740-992-6626 Mon-Fri from 8AM-4PM. You

do not need a referral for us to be able to help you in some way.

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