Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) operates 45 clinical locations across 13 East Tennessee counties. Founded over 50 years ago, in 1960, CHS is extremely innovative and has become a national leader of improving health and wellness outcomes through the implementation of integrated behavioral health and primary care services.
The health center was honored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) last September for its ground-breaking that blends in behavioral health services to address the psychological, social and environmental factors that affect overall health, as described in this NCQA video. The work CHS does is especially noteworthy given the challenges of the patient population they serve, which includes migrant farmworkers and a growing homeless population.
According to CHS, “Our philosophy is simple, we believe the best approach to wellness involves treating both the body and mind. That’s why we offer an array of comprehensive primary care, behavioral health, and prevention programs and services.” CHS offers many services that aren’t typically found at other health centers, such as cardiology, nephrology, OB/GYN, and drug and alcohol addiction services.
CHS also focuses on ways to reduce obesity and diabetes in the community with a new approach that focuses on behavioral health. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, CHS and the University of Tennessee have been awarded grant funding to begin researching, designing, and implementing “Prevention Plus,” a two-year childhood obesity and diabetes prevention pilot program. Prevention Plus will be designed and tested by CHS in collaboration with the University of Tennessee and will be tailored to fit the needs of underserved families in East Tennessee.
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