La Clínica believes that a healthy community produces and nurtures healthy individuals, and healthy individuals bring about and maintain a healthy community. This belief is strongly placed into action in the Health Education Department. Casa CHE's work is based on Brazilian educator Paulo Freire's "conscientization" movement of having people actively participate in and take responsibility for their own education, while creating positive social change.
The Peer Educators are a group of students who learn leadership and community action skills and participate in various community-based activities under the guidance of a Casa CHE health educator. The program stemmed from the enthusiasm of students participating in the Casa en Las Escuelas program, who, when the school year ended, wanted to continue their work with Casa CHE. They assist in outreach at La Clínica events, conduct peer education sessions in the schools, conduct needs assessments and community action plans.
Since the inception of the TRUCHA, we have been dedicated to working with Jornaleros (Day Laborers). In the early days of TRUCHA, staff would prepare coffee and sweet bread at 4-5am to provide to the Jornaleros in the Fruitvale district. This strategy was utilized to engage Jornaleros in HIV/AIDS education and prevention and was the entry point to our current collaboration with the Street Level Health Center. Our current Jornaleros Project, addresses the challenges faced by Jornaleros when trying to access medical and social services by providing care management, risk reduction counseling and on-site registration to La Clínica medical services.
Casa en Las Escuelas (CELE), or Home in the Schools, is a practice used at our Community Health Education department. It consists of outreaching to youth at the place where they spend most of their time, school. Health Educators work with students at local elementary, middle, and high schools from six weeks up to a full academic year to. Health educators cover topics such as tobacco control, teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS, self esteem, and cultural identity. The program actively seeks to engage students in topics discussions through role playing and discussion. Over the years, the CELE program has reached thousands of children and is has had played a key role in the education of many children.
In 1999, the Alianza Latina en Marcha Contra el SIDA (ALMAS) was created to meet the needs of Latina women living with HIV. As the face of the AIDS epidemic changed, Latina women experienced having limited access to services due to cultural and language barriers, and stigmatization in their communities. The ALMAS program at La Clínica is the point of entry for many Latino women who have tested positive for HIV and who need medical and dental care, mental health services, psychosocial support, social services, and legal services.