African-American Community Health Group of the Central Coast

Providing education, support, advocacy and leadership to African American and underserved communities along the California central coast since 1998

History of ABC

ABC/African-American Community Health Group of the Central Coast was created in 1998 in response to the need for ethnically and culturally appropriate health education, support services and advocacy in Santa Cruz and central coast counties. ABC’s mission is to empower African-Americans, uninsured and the underserved to be active and informed health consumers and survivors through health education seminars, promoting prevention nbehaviors and peer support; nutrition and fitness workshops; an annual Juneteenth festival health fair; and other community-based health education and grassroots self-help activities, through churches, ethnic festivals and community businesses. All members of the community are invited to participate and collaborate in our mission.

ABC is a Santa Cruz community organization that provides advocacy, resources, scientifically-evidenced based education and support for people as well as to their families, friends, and the community and health care practitioners. ABC has a track record of 20 plus years of award-winning community-based work in health education, prevention, screening, and support services. Our grassroots activities have inevitably brought ABC into contact with multiple health issues affecting Black, minority, low-income and uninsured people who disproportionately have higher rates of incidence and mortality, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, HIV-AIDS, cancer, etc. All of these health problems require early prevention work as well as screening, treatment and support services. They also call for broad-based education and culturally appropriate care and support to foster healthy behaviors, decrease risk factors and link people to services. Every project that ABC has offered has been the first ever that has targeted the health of the Black population on the central coast as of January 2020.

ABC provides extensive, one to one support (peer counseling, hospital, and home visits, appointment advocacy, family support) to African Americans and others. ABC current activities include special programs that bring together trained survivors and community members to promote cancer education, prevention, and support. People work within our community groups, churches, beauty salons, and neighborhoods to help themselves and their peers. The ABC program also includes bi-weekly drop-in support group meetings, quarterly evening programs, and regular office and library resource hours. We also provide training to community members of all ages and internships for high school and college students. Trained community members communicate with peers about health in our efforts to build a healthier community and to develop peer role models. The on-going development of peer community workers ensures the growth of outreach and education and helps to sustain our different projects. We have both a governing board and a group of advisors made up of community members.

ABC created an on-going series of nutrition and fitness workshops “Eating Right for Life,” that included nutrition lectures, cooking demonstrations, and fitness activities. Every year we provide targeted outreach on national and ethnic holidays, including Kwanzaa, Black History Month, Mother’s Day and Juneteenth. Annually, we provide a huge health fair in conjunction with the local Juneteenth festival that provides free health screenings and referrals for insurance.

ABC initiates on-going dialogue and education to all segments of the general population about health issues of the minority and uninsured community as well as health disparities and the need for cultural, racial and economic sensitivity. This is accomplished by establishing collaborations with local and regional health professionals, agencies, health centers, businesses and community organizations.

ABC is proud of being a “grass-roots” organization and is therefore dedicated to providing comprehensive service outreach, health education, and long-term advocacy to empower all underserved in the Santa Cruz community.


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