ALERT - Best Practice in Miami Florida: An Encouraging Collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Health Department STD Program

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Continental Ballroom
Lori S. Jordahl, MBA-HA , STD Program, Miami Dade County Health Department, Miami, FL
Andra L. Thomas , Hep-C ALERT, Inc, North Miami, FL

Background:
ALERT is a CBO located in a Northeast Miami storefront, an area with high STD morbidity, multicultural populations and teens/young adults who do not traditionally seek services. ALERT responded to an invitation from the Miami Dade County Health Department STD Program to offer free urine based screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea to females ages 15 - 25 years old, during traditional and non traditional hours. This CBO offers a menu of services including counseling, screening, vaccinations, referrals, and community activities. The community response and morbidity was higher than expected. ALERT reacted by pursuing additional financial resources to expand and complement existing services.

Objective:
Showcase ALERT, a Best Practice CBO that demonstrates the value of community-based STD services.

Method:
It became apparent that more services were needed after project implementation: such as free screening for partners and males, along with rapid treatment. Clients could be linked to the Health Department, but those sites were not convenient or open during non-traditional hours. ALERT found community grant resources to support the expansion of services.

Result:
ALERT now provides screening and treatment to females and males. During January July 2007, 2635 were tested: 17% of females and 14.9% of males were positive for chlamydia, 2.9% females and 1.8% males were positive for gonorrhea. Those with positive results are given a free prescription and strongly encouraged to refer their partners. Excellent rapport with STD Program staff facilitates follow up on clients who don't access treatment.

Conclusion:
ALERT is a model that offers more comprehensive STD services than traditional CBO's. This is demonstrated by data that support and validate the work that they do.

Implications:
Relationships between CBO's and Health Departments should be encouraged to expand STD services to needed communities. Additional resources increase the value of services including cost effectiveness while decreasing the barriers.
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