Constanta, Romania / Louisville, Kentucky
Focus: Community Health, Women's Health
The Humana Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation's largest publicly-traded managed health care companies. Established in 1981, the Humana Foundation has been dedicated to improving the health and well being of communities throughout the United States and abroad. The University of Louisville (UofL) is a state-supported metropolitan university located in Kentucky's largest city.
The community of Constanta is represented by the Direction for Public Health and Constanta City Hall, is working closely with the "Ovidius" Medical School of Constanta, the County School Inspectorate, the Direction for Labor and Social Protection, and the County Police Inspectorate to support the Healthy Communities Partnership. This partnership has mobilized a diverse and effective coalition of community leaders and organizations to address the problem of Domestic Violence (DV) in Constanta.
The primary goal of the partnership is to promote community involvement to improve women's health in Constanta. Specific objectives are to:
- Develop a public awareness campaign to reduce the level of acceptance for domestic violence among community members. In developing the campaign, partners first determine the most appropriate messages for the target group.
- Conduct a comprehensive domestic violence assessment to determine the baseline level, and establish standardized reporting measures. Conduct an ongoing training program for professionals from a variety of disciplines, including medicine, law enforcement, criminal justice and education to recognize and develop effective strategies to prevent and handles incidents of domestic violence.
- Create a non-governmental Office for Women to advocate on behalf of women, provide a voice in the legislative process, and support community health promotion activities.
- Identify and secure a means to sustain Healthy Communities' domestic violence programs beyond the AIHA grant period.
- Develop a health education and promotion campaign, in collaboration with local NGO's, to increase awareness of STI's, including HIV, among community members, political leaders, and health and other professionals.
- Develop a model for facilitating STI referral communication strategies between specialists, family practitioners, and their patients.
- Partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Constanta in October 1998. Another Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Louisville during the Constanta team members' first exchange in December 1998.
- Twelve hundred women in Constanta were surveyed to identify perceptions and concerns related to women's health. The top three health concerns listed by those surveyed were STI's, domestic violence, and lack of health education.
- The US partners have conducted four workshops in Constanta. The first focused on developing community foundations, the second on preventing and addressing domestic violence, the first of its kind in Romania. A group of US health specialists led two more workshops in Constanta related to the STI objectives of the partnership. The third workshop focused on the development a teen-mentoring program on STIs. The fourth targeted family practitioners and other health specialists and was aimed at developing a model for facilitating referral communications between specialists, family practitioners and their patients.
- In March 2000, the partners launched the Domestic Violence awareness campaign in a busy downtown area of Constanta. Seventeen young volunteers handed out brochures about DV and pins and pens with the motto, "Live Safely." Citizens were asked to answer simple questions about their knowledge of and attitudes toward domestic violence. Three hundred questionnaires were completed and the results are currently being compiled. Media coverage of both events was extensive.
- The Constanta partners, with the support of their US colleagues, established the Constanta Community Foundation, with approval from the Constanta Court of Justice. The Foundation has created a Board and a scope of activities.
- The Romanian partners created an interdisciplinary commission on domestic violence, with representatives from various sectors. The commission will develop strategies for fighting domestic violence in Constanta, including an initial plan for centralized and standardized reporting of domestic violence cases.
- The Office for Women in Constanta officially opened December 1 and began responding to domestic violence cases. The office houses a domestic violence hotline and serves as a walk-in referral center for victims of domestic violence. The Constanta partners developed a strategy for communicating with the mass media about the activities of the office, including press coverage for the opening ceremony and distribution of educational materials. The Office for Women has started to print and distribute informational flyers about their activities to mailboxes in the Constanta community.
- The Constanta partners developed a partnership with World Vision in which office space for the Office for Women is provided free-of-charge.
- Since the start of the partnership, eleven exchanges took place, seven to Romania and four to Louisville. The exchanges involved 332 person days in Bucharest and 251 person days in Louisville, for a total of 583 person days.
Updated on June 30, 2003
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