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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4268.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Board 5

Abstract #103132

Is it possible to create a culture of prevention? Experiences of a statewide project in Coahuila, Mexico

Nilesh Chatterjee, PhD, Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, Mailstop 4243, READ Bldg 159H, College Station, TX 77843-4243, (979) 845 3497, nileshchatterjee@yahoo.com and Irma Potes, MBA, Dept. de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Monterrey, Avenida Morones Prieto 4500 pte., Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leone, Mexico.

Pressures on healthcare and welfare sectors in today's neoliberal economy inspired Healthy Development (Desarrollo Saludable in Spanish)Project – piloted in 12 municipalities in Coahuila state of Mexico in 2004. The slogan: “Creating a culture of prevention,” encapsulated the program's intent to build “immunity of the community” inherent in its human capital and social capital. Based on an integrative framework developed by the lead author that addresses common determinants for a successful economy and healthy population, it advocates a primary prevention orientation to public health problems, and strengthens civil society, including government-community relationships, through 4 principles: prevention first, community involvement, governmental integration, and quality of life. Week-long training sessions with community leaders and local government staff from Health, Education, and Social Development ministries in each municipality consisted of community-based and group exercises to help participants understand disparities and vulnerabilities; differentiate multiple, interconnected consequences and causes (visible and invisible) of a specific local public problem, identify and tap local human and social capital resources, analyze stakeholders, and prepare and commit to an action plan addressing the local problem. Process monitoring revealed salubrious effects of training on interactions between community members and governmental staff. Despite positive feedback for the training itself, difficulties in action plan implementation included apathy in communities, lack of trust in institutions, and inadequate follow-up from governmental liaison. Intensive measures combining morale boosting, trust-building, and civic engagement are required from community and government leaders to sustain a culture of prevention. Coahuila state is a pioneer in attempting to create a prevention orientation in civil society.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Primary Prevention, Community Participation

Related Web page: www.healthydevelopment.net

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Using Communication Tools to Promote Healthier Lives

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA