America’s Essential Hospitals Recognizes Harris Health With 2022 Gage Award for Population Health

Harris Health System has received the 2022 Gage Award for Population Health from America’s Essential Hospitals. The award recognizes the hospital’s community health worker home visit program for patients with diabetes.

“On behalf of everyone at Teaching Hospitals of Texas, congratulations to Harris Health for this honor,” said Maureen Milligan, Ph.D., THOT CEO. “Work in the community, outside the four walls of the hospital, to improve health and prevent hospitalization, is one of the hallmarks of a teaching institution, and we are delighted to see one of our members receive this much-deserved national recognition.”

The community health worker home visit program helps patients through direct home visits control their diabetes (participants with hemoglobin A1C levels greater than 9%). A1C levels are three-month measures for glucose with 7% or under considered managed. Patients enroll in a four-month program that includes immersive diabetes education and step-by-step self-management lessons that includes healthy eating and exercise. Home workers also address other social barriers such as living in food deserts or not having transportation.

From November 2020 to October 2021, the program’s 417 patient graduates reported an average drop in A1C levels of 2.2 percentage points and a three point increase in diabetes knowledge scores. These results also translate into fewer clinic and hospital emergency visits.

The Gage Award is AEH’s highest honor and is awarded for activities that focus on social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, homelessness, language barriers, and other socioeconomic factors.