The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5088.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 1:18 PM

Abstract #69797

Teaching public health students the assumptions and methods for community participatory research: Examples from the field

Lynn D. Woodhouse, EdD, MPH1, Alberto Jose Cardelle, PhD, MPH1, Samantha Ruschman, BS1, Melodie Schaffer, BA1, Helen Mundy, MPH2, Kristina Whitmire, MPH1, Elaine Rodriquez, MPH1, and Martha Peterson, MPH, PA-C, CHES3. (1) Public Health Program, East Stroudsburg University, 200 Prospect St., 242 DeNike Building, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301, 570 422 3560,, (2) MPH Program, East Stroudsburg University, 200 Prospect St., East Stroudsburg, PA 18301, (3) Department of Physican Assistant and Graduate Studies, East Stroudsburg University, Stevenson G 24, Lock Haven, PA 18301

The 2003 Institute of Medicine report on Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century calls for enhancing the community participatory research skills of public health workers. The rationale for this finding is the need to ground research more effectively in community context and to more accurately represent the views and concerns of community members. Another rationale for this approach is that workers need access to research that defines public health problems from the perspective of the community to develop ecologically based solutions. Teaching participatory research skills without grounding the work in the philosophical assumptions of this research paradigm will not produce findings to contribute to solutions. To empower public health workers to conduct this research they must learn to simultaneously embrace the philosophical assumptions (empowerment and collaboration) of this research process while developing expertise in the methods to conduct participatory research (focus groups, interviews, observations, survey construction). Students in our MPH program in Community Health Education have conducted several studies that help to highlight this two-pronged, interactive process. Several contemporary public health problems served as the context for these learning experiences. These included: breastfeeding as a community issue, dental care in hospital emergency rooms, health issues in a Latino community and alcohol and the culture of Greek life. This presentation will discuss the supports and barriers to helping students embrace the assumptions of participatory research. The presentation will highlight, through the examples of efforts described above, processes used to develop skills for participatory research design, data collection and analysis.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Public Health Education, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovative Community-based Approaches for Promoting Health Behaviors

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA