Story by: Sara Thompson on December 29, 2020
The Kentucky Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force wants state residents to know their blood pressure numbers — and they’re taking great CARE to make sure they do. The Cardiovascular Assessment, Risk Reduction, and Education — or CARE Collaborative — is a statewide initiative to raise awareness about blood pressure numbers and management.
Michele Harbin, R.N., health ministries coordinator, Norton Faith & Health Ministries, was recognized in the CARE newsletter for her exemplary work as a coach with the collaborative.
The CARE Collaborative works with partners throughout Kentucky to train coaches like Michele on blood pressure awareness through an educational encounter. They use simple strategies and resources that can be shared with anyone interested in reducing their blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease. Coaches can be anyone from health clinic staff and nursing students to church members, pharmacists and fitness trainers. Regardless of their professional background, they all share a common goal of getting more people to take control of elevated blood pressure by making simple lifestyle changes and modifications.
These “Blood Pressure Encounters” emphasize lifestyle changes (activity, dietary, meditation/mindfulness, medication compliance, reduced tobacco use/smoking cessation). The coach asks participants if they made any recent changes and provides resources if the participant is ready to adopt a lifestyle change.
The Blood Pressure Encounter also includes resource questions asking if the participant has a primary care provider (if no, the participant is provided resources) and does the participant use tobacco products (if yes, provided resources).
Michele knows that sometimes the process of healing the heart, and heart-related illnesses, is a little easier when it comes with some faith. In her role as a health ministries coordinator with Norton Faith & Health Ministries, she works to foster relationships among faith-based partners and helps them establish prevention and wellness programs for their communities.
Michele provides educational tools for health ministries to conduct everything from health fairs to mentoring opportunities for faith-based health coaches and ministers. To help the goal of increasing blood pressure awareness, Norton Faith & Health Ministries partnered with the CARE Collaborative.
“The partnership between our faith communities and self-health care just married very well together,” she said. “It’s because the knowledge and awareness are in alignment with the spiritual encounter, or holistic health.”
Michele works regularly in her own faith community as a CARE coach, someone who helps guide parishioners on the path to better health. She has seen improvement among the individuals she counsels on blood pressure management and medication compliance.
Congratulations Michele on your continuing dedication to Kentucky’s heart health!
Learn more about Norton Healthcare Faith and Health Ministries or the Kentucky CARE Collaborative.
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