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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Florida International: Researcher Develops Mobile Health App to Link Underserved Community to Local Services and Resources

Helping vulnerable populations gain access to local health services is, traditionally, a task that requires training community  health workers (CHW) to link hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities to local resources. Unfortunately, this framework only creates dependence on CHWs.

In order to meet the goals of linking communities to services, as well as promoting empowerment, a researcher from the Center for Research on US Latino, HIV/AIDS, & Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work designed a mobile health application to catalogue available services in the Homestead, Florida area that could better assist those in need.

“I wanted to be able to reach the greatest amount of people in the most effective way,” Ms. Gira J. Ravelo, research assistant professor and director of the project. “We were already aware that virtually everyone in this community had access to smart phones, and that regardless of their level of education, they are savvy on their phones. I knew that a health app would be an effective tool to bridge needs and available services.”

FIU SALVA was officially launched in April 2019. SALVA is Substance Abuse, Legal aid, Violence, and HIV/AIDS mobile bilingual (English and Spanish), application that lists dozens of services in the Homestead, Florida area, where the app prototype is currently being piloted.  Those services include mental health, education, employment assistance, substance abuse, HIV services, legal aid, and much more.

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