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Meet Our Community Health Worker

Darlene Eason HeadshotDarlene L. Eason has joined our Family Health Center staff and the Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in a new role as Community Health Worker, funded by a grant from the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, Darlene served as Assistant Education Director and Art and History Teacher at the Mattatuck Museum for 15 years. She is also a former Adolescent Development Specialist for North American Family Institute (NAFI) Connecticut.

In her new role, she is tasked with spending 24 hours each week interacting with uninsured and under insured women in our community and is expanding the reach of the early detection program to include screenings for diabetes and heart disease. Specifically, she is implementing the state’s WISEWOMAN program, which is designed to help women 30 to 64 years of age reduce their risk of heart disease and promote a heart-healthy lifestyle. Women who choose to participate are eligible for free screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose testing and BMI, and have an opportunity to sign up for free services, including gym memberships and Weight Watchers.

Darlene has been visiting with women in the community at churches, hair salons and other locations within certain areas that DPH has identified a need to reach women at risk of certain cancers and heart disease. For various reasons, these women may not have had access to healthcare services. Darlene’s goal is to provide screenings, education and resources and connect women with providers. “You have to meet them where they are,” said Darlene, who recently connected with one patient who expressed an interest in joining a gym and starting to exercise. She even helped to provide her with a new pair of sneakers.

She talks to patients about how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diet, and more activity or exercise into their daily routine. “Our focus is on prevention,” she said, noting that she recently completed her certification in tobacco cessation counseling. A cancer survivor, she is passionate about her potential to help others. “Who better to be an advocate for someone than a like-minded person who has been through it,” she said.

Darlene can be reached at darlene.eason@stmh.org or 203-709-3800.

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