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Wellness for a Lifetime: Reducing health disparities through community partnerships

Laura Anderko, RN PhD, Claudia Bartz, Rn PhD, and Sally Lundeen, RN PhD. School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cunningham Hall 747, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, 414 229-2313, landerko@uwm.edu

The national obesity epidemic has affected young and old, the rich and poor. In low-income neighborhoods, community barriers to safe walking routes and a lack of knowledge regarding healthful eating options have increased the risk of obesity in already high-risk populations. In addition, limited access to health care in low-income populations creates more challenges for providers to “get the word out” to those most in need of health information. Community nursing centers serve the health needs of a culturally diverse population that are marginalized and most likely to experience disparities in health. They utilize innovative models of service delivery that bridge health care with other social services, providing a non-traditional model of primary health care delivery that merges traditional medical management with primary prevention and health promotion strategies to improve the health of underserved communities. The Midwest Nursing Centers Consortium Research Network (MNCCRN) is a practice-based research network (PBRN) funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and is unique in that it is the only nationally funded research network comprised of community nursing centers. The MNCCRN is comprised of 20 community nursing centers that have been in operation from 4-18 years across several Midwestern states. One of the overall goals of the MNCCRN is to establish a multi-state collaborative program of participatory community-focused research with underserved populations that will inform practice, education and health care policy. This presentation will highlight “lessons learned” during the first MNCCRN practice-based research project entitled, Wellness for a Lifetime funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve the nutrition and physical activity levels of underserved populations. Specifically, the presentation will outline the processes involved in building the practice-based research network infrastructure including issues surrounding data warehousing and the virtues of videoconferencing to improve communication between the nursing centers participating in the research study and ultimately, the reliability of interventions across the sites. Plans for translating the findings to practice across the MNCCRN member sites will also be discussed as well as policy barriers to overcome to reduce health disparities in these high risk populations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Practice-Based Research, Obesity

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.

Economic Disparities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA