MOLINE — People living in Moline's Floreciente neighborhood has a new health advocate to help them get and stay healthy.

Carolina Granja was formally introduced during a Wednesday press conference at the Global Communities office, 1206 5th Ave., Moline.

The part-time UnityPoint Health-Trinity position, is a first for the health system, according to community engagement director Daniel Joiner. The creation of the position stems from a fall assessment conducted by UnityPoint, that identified a large increase in diabetes and heart-related symptoms in the Floreciente neighborhood.

Granja, 41, became a bilingual community health advocate, thanks to a new grant from a nonprofit Global Communities organization and Trinity Health Foundation, designed to help advance health while offering Floreciente residents a "continuum of care," according to a UnityPoint Health-Trinity press release.

She's already been hard at work doing blood-pressure checks at the nearby Boys and Girls Club and teaching a variety of other classes. She's also preparing for the American Heart Association Heart Walk by getting people interested and signing up a team.

She's married to Juan Granja, has three kids, and is a certified nursing assistant with a Black Hawk College, Moline, degree.

Her goal is to help as many people as she can, and said she likes everything about her job.

Program goals are to build trust, remove barriers and create an access point to health-care services.

Residents will be provided services like health assessments, blood pressure screenings, health education, referrals to health care providers and community resources, as well as assistance with appointments for health care, insurance or other benefits.

Immigrant and refugee population had identified key concerns such as language barriers at the hospitals, access to mental health, heart issues and hypertension, a complex health care system, confusion on where to seek care, and difficulty in making appointments for non-English speakers and lack of access to care.

Granja will also work closely with Trinity’s parish nurse manager, Linda Guebert, who has 41 years of nursing experience. Guebert will be the initial point of contact for Floreciente residents and can be reached at 309-779-5122.

The Floreciente neighborhood in Moline encompasses about 1,300 individuals and 392 households, and roughly spans from the Rock Island's eastern border to 12th Street, and from the Mississippi River to 8th Avenue.

The Global Communities program in Moline engages Floreciente residents to reinvigorate the historic neighborhood and improve the quality of life of its residents through participatory approaches to create long-lasting, positive and community-led change.



Leon is a reporter for the Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com.

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