By Carla Thomas
The Ethnic Health Institute (EHI) of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and the US Public Health Service of San Francisco recently unveiled the first health kiosk at Oakland’s Acts Full Gospel Church of God In Christ.
The kiosk is part of a unique pilot program designed to deliver vital health information through community churches. Located in the church lobby, the machine allows users to access information on health prevention, awareness and education.
“For a long time we viewed the church as a gateway to the African American population, and generally we do festivals, concerts and other functions. So we developed a kiosk similar to an ATM machine or an airport boarding pass kiosk,” explained Ethnic Health Institute Chairperson Dr. Frank E. Staggers, Sr..
“It’s a good way for people to be aware of risk factors and recognizing the signs of disease and access the information immediately,” said EHI director Joyce J. Gray.
“We chose Acts Full Gospel Church because (it) is a dynamic church with a large congregation, and Sister Debra Hutchinson, director of the church’s Healthy Temple program, is a longtime advocate for the Ethnic Health Institute,” said Dr. Staggers. “She helps with a large coalition of Oakland churches and Berkeley churches.”
“It’s a blessing to have this type of technology at our church to promote health awareness,” said Hutchinson.
The pilot program kiosk includes information on asthma and will soon include information on other diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. The $5,000 kiosks are funded by the US Public Health Service, and the content is provided by EHI.
“If this pilot program proves to be effective here at Acts Full Gospel Church, we can provide this to other churches,” Staggers continued.
For more information visit www.altabatessummit.org