Charlotte’s Camino Health Center Opens New Wellness Facility to Meet Holistic Health Needs | DFA 90.7
In September, Charlotte Camino Health Center opened the doors of its new wellness center. It looks like a regular gym with a large aerobic area that is fully equipped with treadmills and other fitness equipment and exercise balls.
But this is not your typical gym.
âIt’s not really a gym,â said Jessica Montana, director of health, education and wellness operations. âIt’s really very, very one-on-one with personal trainers. And it’s all based on their health needs.
Camino Vida is just the new branch of the Camino Health Center. It is a wellness program created to help patients improve and manage their health and chronic illnesses.
The Camino Health Center is a bilingual and holistic health center that opened in 2003 and was created to meet a need for medical services for the Latino community. The Latino population represents more than 14% of the inhabitants of Mecklenburg County.
Research gathered at the Camino Clinic has highlighted high rates of high blood pressure and blood sugar in patients, and has shown a need for more education and help in managing illnesses.
âIt’s all medically based,â Montana said. âPatients who are chronically ill, have high blood pressure, or have high cholesterol or high A1C (blood sugar) then these are the people we have in the program. It’s really about preventing cardiovascular disease. If they have any risk factors, that’s what we’re working on here.
To benefit from the wellness program, you must be referred by one of the doctors due to underlying health issues. Program participants have access to individual trainers and personalized nutrition and exercise plans. There is no cost for assessments and consultations, but members clinic will have to pay for their appointments and lab tests.
In total, the Camino Health Center now has three branches: the Camino Clinic for primary care and pediatric services, and Camino Contigo for individual and group therapy. For grocery shopping needs, there is the Food Farmacy. To shop in the pantry, complete an online request or send Camino a message on Facebook.
Last year, Food Farmacy distributed over one million pounds of food to over 23,000 families, a 300% increase from 2019.
Public relations manager Paola Garcia said the growth in demand was due to the pandemic.
âA lot of other organizations had to close, but it was not an option for us,â she said. âWe knew our community was going to need us a lot more, especially in these difficult times. So we decided to be open.
While Camino has a strong focus on meeting the needs of the Latin American community, he also cares about serving those who are uninsured or underinsured and low-income families.
Last year, the center served community members more than 41,000 times. There were approximately 7,600 visits to the Camino Clinic and over 130 counseling services were provided. Camino’s mission is to equip people to lead healthy and hopeful lives. It does this by helping patients in many aspects of their lives, not just one.
âIf you come to Camino and you have a bad knee or something, obviously we’re going to treat you for your bad knee,â Garcia said. “But we’re giving you a social determinants of health assessment.”
This assessment helps staff determine the best way to help their clients and the right resources to refer them to if clients need something they are not providing.
The Camino Health Center is located off North Tryon in the University District. For more information visit caminohealthcenter.com.
The center is also working to assess the needs of Latino citizens in Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas. Surveys on the strengths and needs of your community can be completed at www.camino.org/enquÃªte or by sending an SMS to 704-610-6680.