The SPARC Program
The SPARC program (Sickness Prevention Achieved Through Regional Collaboration) has shown documented success in broadening the use of recommended preventive services among older adults. A rigorous evaluation supported by CDC found increases in immunizations for influenza and pneumococcal disease, and screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers as well as elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure.
SPARC’s approach is to establish collaboration and coordination among a wide variety of community agencies and organizations (e.g., local health department, area agency on aging, health care providers, and other key players) with a vested interest in improving the health of older adults. SPARC does not itself deliver services; rather, it creates, facilitates, and monitors communitywide strategies that make it easier for older adults to get their screenings and immunizations in places convenient for them. An innovative feature of SPARC is Vote & Vax, a strategy that makes vaccines and appointments for cancer screenings available at polling places on elections days. Visit Vote & Vax for more information.
In 2006, the Atlanta Regional Commission piloted the SPARC model with CDC and with technical assistance from Dr. Doug Shenson, the president of SPARC. The Atlanta pilot is described in an article in CDC’s e-journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.
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