Improving Healthcare Access via Community Ties in Houston’s Third Ward



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Many inner-city residents in large U.S. metropolitan areas are socioeconomically disadvantaged, which leads to higher rates of chronic illness and lower rates of healthcare access. This demographic may struggle to benefit from telehealth services due to lack of access to technology, private transportation, and/or health and digital literacy. Our goal is to leverage Houston’s Third Ward’s strong sense of community to determine if a targeted community telehealth program will improve healthcare access in the Third Ward during periods of isolation, either due to a pandemic lockdown or a general lack of access to healthcare. Our proposed efforts include partnering with a local electronics donation nonprofit organization to allow community health workers (CHWs) to facilitate the televisit process for fellow Third Ward residents with gently used tablets. This study will quantify the number of primary health provider visits in the twelve months before and after our program is implemented. A successful telehealth program should motivate Third Ward residents to schedule virtual visits more frequently. Increased participation will facilitate an open line of communication between patients and their primary healthcare providers, thereby providing an effective alternative to in-person care. This project is one component of improving the equity of the U.S. healthcare system, especially for underserved inner-city populations like Houston’s Third Ward.