Local Community Health Worker Receives National Recognition from Biden-Harris Administration
ST. LOUIS, MO – DeAnthony Henderson, Community Health Worker & Substance Use Specialist with Family Care Health Centers received national recognition in a joint letter from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for creating a successful model to improve access to naloxone and other opioid overdose reversal medications in public housing.
“We call on public health departments and health care systems to engage with affordable housing providers and community development organizations to help expand the reach of these lifesaving measures. A model of this successful engagement to improve access to naloxone and other opioid overdose reversal medications in public housing occurred in St. Louis, MO,” said the joint letter. “Partners from across the community, including a non-profit organization, a federally qualified health center, and the local health department collaborated with the (local) St. Louis Public Housing Authority to successfully distribute naloxone to residents and provide overdose recognition and response training to housing residents and property managers.”
Henderson joined the Family Care Health Centers team in May 2021. Since that time, he has made a big impact. His work focuses on interventions that include harm reduction principles, outreach, and developing partnerships. Specifically, Henderson works with CENTER partners: The T, UMSL-MIMH, Community Advisory Board, and others focused on a healthcare and treatment system that ends punitive and coercive approaches that disproportionately harm Black people and instead prioritizes culturally appropriate services that center on Black drug users’ agency, autonomy, and safety.
This national recognition highlights Henderson and CENTER’s work providing overdose education and naloxone distribution in public housing complexes such as Parkview Apartments. The partnership between local community organizations is a model to serve as a blueprint for other cities.
“After the mass overdose event that happened at Parkview Apartments, I felt that it was my duty as a resilient Community Health Worker to step in and address this issue,” said Henderson. “Following a lot of pushback, I was finally able to get into the apartment due to the collaboration with the Director of the St. Louis Housing Authority and help those living in trauma who were affected by that tragic event. I came in with all my tools and connections so that I can prevent more overdoses from happening and help those in need of assistance with their social determinant of health. After my first week, I knew that the work I am doing is God’s work. I was able to teach residents how to administer Narcan and one of those residents saved a life in the same complex due to an overdose. It means a lot to me that I am able to help the community access the same tools that I have so that they can save lives.”
About Family Care Health Centers
Family Care Health Centers (FCHC) is a non-profit community health center dedicated to providing affordable and accessible comprehensive primary health care services to the residents of St. Louis and the surrounding communities. For over 50 years, FCHC has been committed to offering a full range of services, equalizing the accessibility of quality healthcare to our hometown community members. FCHC can be found online at www.fchcstl.org, Facebook at facebook.com/FCHCstl, and LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/family-care-health-centers.