Heart 2 Heart fosters the idea that community connectedness and cohesion are critical for improving community health. Through community engagement, building relationships and trust, Heart 2 Heart works to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease while connecting community members to resources and services they need. The Heart 2 Heart program serves as a bridge between community members and health centers throughout the Heart 2 Heart community.
Heart 2 Heart serves communities in Berkeley and parts of Oakland.
Heart 2 Heart’s mission is to build relationships and strengthen social cohesion between community members by linking residents with needed resources and services to reduce the rates of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke occurrence in the Heart 2 Heart neighborhood in South Berkeley.
Valadez-Rios works as a program specialist at Lifelong Medical Care, a health center that caters to Medicaid patients. She wanted to do more with her newfound knowledge of the medical nonprofit field as she watched her community struggle and houselessness increase. When circumstances at home led to time spent in a women’s shelter, the lack of resources and the people she met there stuck with her.
“Just coming back into the real world after being there for a couple of days, I just looked at people and their sadness,” Valadez-Rios says. “It’s that look in their eyes. I was like, ‘How can I help you?’ We’re put on this world to help each other.”
Currently on hold due to COVID-19.
As part of our mission to be community based and health driven, Heart 2 Heart staffs several weekly drop-in blood pressure clinics open to the public. These clinics are open for anyone interested in having their blood pressures read, as well as for those seeking additional information and resources on hypertension, other chronic illnesses, nutrition, and general health and well-being.
Every year, in celebration of Heart 2 Heart’s Mobile Health Van, we host a community health and wellness party and administer door to door blood pressure screenings throughout the neighborhood. Come enjoy an afternoon of FREE refreshments, music, fun, health screenings and additional community resources!
Cardiovascular disease is an issue affecting South Berkeley’s African American community at a staggering rate compared to other groups within the area. In an effort to address this disparity, Heart 2 Heart has partnered with 3 local barbershops in South Berkeley in order to reduce hypertension and raise awareness about other health issues in our community. During our health hubs, we welcome anyone from the public to come collect health resources from us, enjoy a healthy snack, and have their blood pressure checked. Barbershops are a gathering place for African-American males and at Heart 2 Heart we believe in providing access to health care and information to those in the community – we meet them where they are at.
Our Mobile Van, much like our Health Hubs, are part of our effort to meet the community where they are. Rather than waiting for individuals to come into the clinic we provide our blood pressure and information services curbside to any passerby. From our location on Sacramento St our volunteers go out into the community to nearby businesses and public spaces to provide blood pressure screenings.
Heart 2 Heart’s Health Advocates Program is a leadership training program that strives to empower South Berkley community members with the tools to improve the health and well-being of their community. Our Neighborhood Health Advocates serve South Berkeley through activities and projects that inform neighbors about positive and healthy lifestyle choices related to high blood pressure and other chronic lifestyle illnesses.
Grants ranging from $500 - $2,500 are given to community members and organizations in an effort to support ideas and create a healthier H2H community.