Health Education Outreach Program (HEOP) is a community outreach project that initiated by a group of students and professionals from the Bethesda community in January 2012. We currently visit seven homeless shelters in Montgomery County, Maryland to discuss health issues with the medically underserved men, women, and children who live there.
Given how vulnerable the homeless population is both to acute and to chronic diseases, our goal is to provide the shelter residents with current, evidence-based information about topics such as obesity, communicable diseases, and dental health. We also share useful resources to empower the homeless and help them make informed decisions about their health care with their physicians.
We share health information to shelter residents through interactive, discussion-based lessons. As we visit shelters on a regular basis, we also guide residents through positive lifestyle changes by health coaching. Our typical lesson program is as follows:
Lesson 1: Health Literacy/Health Coaching Introduction
Lesson 2: Nutrition
Lesson 3: Diabetes
Lesson 4: Hypertension/Cardiovascular Health
Lesson 5: Pulmonary Health/COPD/Smoking Cessation
Lesson 6: Communicable Diseases
Lesson 7: Men’s/Women’s Health
Lesson 8: Emotional & Mental Health
We also cover additional topics requested by shelter residents.