A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action

Community Health Program

Initial Posting: Feb 15, 2005

Pittsylvania County Community Action coordinates the Community Health Program to increase awareness about the symptoms and risks of unsafe behaviors.


Pittsylvania County Community Action (PCCA) conducts a variety of educational activities through the Community Health Program that is part of the Community Health Coalition (CHC) of the Danville/Pittsylvania County area.  Community outreach is conducted and educational events are held to provide the community with knowledge and statistics of good/safe health practices.

The CHC was formed in 1999 to address emerging community health issues.  The first goal was to develop strategies for addressing the high rate of syphilis in the area.  Door-to-door outreach was conducted involving volunteers canvassing in targeted neighborhoods.  Literature was distributed and personal interviews were conducted to help residents become more aware of at-risk behaviors.

Community health fairs and workshops were also sponsored.  The initial workshops were designed to educate the public about the symptoms and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and to identify risk reduction methods.  They also provided resources for at-risk persons, explained the components of a STD visit, and discussed the importance of partner notification.

Presentations are continuing to church, civic and youth groups in order to increase community awareness and support.  Examples of groups involved are ministerial associations, the Rotary Club, and school groups.  Forms of publicity include information printed on church fans....health fair flyers....National Black HIV Awareness Day Flyers, etc.

Special annual conferences are held in conjunction with World AIDS Day to address specific health issues for men and women:

  • Men’s Day of Empowerment to reach those who typically do not seek preventative health-care options
    • Comprehensive heart checks that include risk screening to provide a heart health assessment
    • Blood pressure checks
    • Cholesterol checks
    • Glucose checks and body-fat index
    • PSA blood tests to detect prostate cancer
    • Eye examinations
    • Oral cancer screening
    • Foot inspections
    • Feature speakers
    • Cardiovascular disease and its effects on African-Americans
    • Impotence

  • Women’s Empowerment Conference using the theme of Becoming a Woman of Excellence: Beautiful, Healthy, Confident and Successful!
    • Workshop on relationships with a focus on the AIDS epidemic as it relates to women of color and all women in general (given by Cheryl Martin, former BET program moderator)
    • Credit and budgeting
    • Breast Cancer Prevention
    • Skin Care
    • Dressing for Success on a Budget
    • Job Readiness
    • Free manicures and gifts from area businesses were included

Further initiatives are being developed to reach high-risk adults and youth:

Further information and materials to assist with development of teen pregnancy prevention and HIV prevention intervention initiatives can be identified through:

Offering culturally competent services is an important facet of the Community Health Program.  PCCA uses the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care....Executive Summary....published by the Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Additional information and materials on culturally competent services are available through:

A Program Coordinator staffs the Community Health Program.  Members of the Community Health Coalition, in addition to PCCA, include representatives from health care providers, local government (health dept., human services, social services), mental health, public schools, public housing authority, ministerial alliance, higher education, and interested citizens.


There was a decline in STD’s over the period from 2002 to 2003 as follows:

  • Syphilis cases decreased from 13 to 10
  • Gonorrhea decreased from 307 to 159
  • Chlamydia decreased from 587 to 396
  • HIV cases decreased from 11 to 10

A target is set to have at least 20% of event participants take a HIV test. That is evidenced by the reports from the Danville-Pittsylvania Health District who partners at the events where testing is made available.


Felecia Watkins, Community Health Program Coordinator