Will Cerrato is the chronic-disease manager at the Ravenswood Family Health Center, which offers care to 10,000 low-income patients annually in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Redwood City. The center is one of six nationwide to receive a $1.2 million, three-year grant for chronic-disease prevention.
What are some of the most common chronic diseases your patients have? I would say the three most prevalent are diabetes, hypertension and then the complications related to those conditions.
What’s the biggest challenge in helping people with chronic diseases? The low literacy level of the community is one. For instance, if we prescribe medication, we have to make sure they really understand how they’re going to be taking this medication.
Your center provides “health navigation” for patients. What does that mean? Health navigators help them understand how things work.
What are you going to do with the grant money? The main one is to hire more health navigators. So far, we only have four health navigators for a big population. Other people also need health navigation ... so just having four health navigators is not enough. According to the grant, we should have at least 10 health navigators.