Healthy & Whole
Healthy & Whole is a ground-breaking, award winning collaboration between Healthcare for the Homeless Houston (HHH) and Angela House, which seeks to provide trauma-informed, wellness-centered programming aimed at allowing participants to regain health, hope and independent living. The program was established as a pilot by HHH in 2013 and is a comprehensive treatment program being offered as an extension of HHH’s acclaimed Jail In-reach Project.
Healthy & Whole brings the medical and behavioral health expertise of HHH to Angela House so that programming specific to the health and psychosocial needs of women recovering from all forms of sexual exploitation can be offered. Through the provision of wellness-centered programming, and primary medical and trauma-informed care, the program aims to address the unique needs of those it serves. There are six areas of programming: wellness, health education, trauma-specific care, healing through the arts, peer support and employment counseling.
Healthy and Whole is based on the World Health Organization's definition of wellness, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Therefore health is approached both from a preventative as well as a treatment perspective. The wellness components consist of -
Integrated medical care provided in HHH clinics. Women are scheduled for medical appointments within 1-2 days of arrival so that medical needs are addressed immediately upon arrival.General medical, psychiatric, well woman and dental services are provided to the women free of charge from HHH.
- Weekly wellness classes that focus on nutrition, eating healthy on a budget, weight loss, sleep, the importance of exercise and self-care.
- Quarterly Smoking Cessation classes taught by Univ. Of Houston College of Pharmacy students.
- Weekly hand-on cooking classes focusing on preparing healthy meals on a budget.
- Collaboration with Plant It Forward which provides weekly delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Fully-equipped exercise room with weights, an elliptical machine and recumbent bicycle provided by a generous grant from the United Way.
- Weekly hip hop dance and yoga classes and Friday Walks with a Student round out the wellness offerings.
- Weekly health classes with modules on mental health, women’s health and general health with the aim of educating women about critical health issues while decreasing apprehension about seeing a healthcare provider
- Health Fairs offered quarterly by medical, pharmacy and public health students focusing on education and health screenings for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes.
- Angela House’s licensed clinical counselor, Teresa Doyle, teaches “Seeking Safety,” an evidence-based, psycho-educational program that integrates treatment for trauma/PTSD and addiction. The program focuses on cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal skills to enhance long-term feelings of safety.
Healing through the Arts
- HHH collaborates with Houston FotoFest to provide the award winning “Literacy through Photography” program, which focuses expression through photography using themes of “self, dreams and community.” This culminates with a gallery exhibition of the women’s work every spring.
- Community building activities, such as 5K races and group classes (cooking, exercise and art classes)
- Quarterly “Lunch with a Graduate” invites a graduate from the program to return to Angela House and speak to the current program participants about her experiences both during and after her time at Angela House.
Lunch With a Graduate - January 2016
- Healthy and Whole/Angela House has partnerships with multiple area-agencies, which offer low-cost or free job training and employment search services. Partners include Work Faith Connection, CCSC Job Net, DARS and Goodwill.
Healthy & Whole in the News
In January of 2016, the Healthcare for the Homeless Healthy & Whole Program at Angela House
won the prestigous Secondary Champion of Health Award from the Texas Medical Association.
Dr. Andrea Link, Healthy & Whole Program Manager