178269 Participant-Driven Health Program Development in the Vietnamese Nail Technician Community of Dorchester, MA

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tiffany Skogstrom , Environmental Hazards, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Janine Anzalota, MSW, LICSW, MPH , Coordinated Social Support and Training, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Paul A. Shoemaker, MPH , Environmental Health Office, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Hiep Chu , Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development, Dorchester, MA
Cora Roelofs, ScD , School of Health and the Environment, The Work Environment Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Boston, MA
The Safe Nail Salons Project works within the Dorchester community to prevent and reduce environmental and occupational health effects from the industry on workers – particularly Vietnamese women of childbearing age. According to the Boston 2005 Behavior risk surveillance survey, 17% of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood is Vietnamese. The Vietnamese community has additional health concerns such as Type II diabetes and respiratory problems.

The Boston Public Health Commission's Safe Nail Salon Program, Asthma and Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, and the Vietnamese-American Institute for Development (Viet-AID) conducted a focus group with Dorchester's Vietnamese nail technicians. The goal of the focus group was to develop an occupational health outreach plan and general health interventions to meet the needs of the population.

Twenty six Dorchester nail technicians attended the focus group, co-facilitated by a nail technician. Viet-AID recruited nail technicians by visiting shops, and by advertising in the local Vietnamese paper. The focus group was conducted in Vietnamese and participants were given a gift certificate for their participation.

Nail technicians displayed limited knowledge about diabetes and a sense of fatalism about the disease, “you get it and then you die.” Participants reported concerns about respiratory health, chemical exposure, muscular and skeletal pain, and effects of chemical exposure on reproductive health.

Mistrust of government agencies has been a barrier in engaging nail technicians. Focus group success and local government access to the targeted population can be attributed to community partnerships with local Vietnamese owned businesses and Viet-AID's preexisting relationships with Dorchester nail salons.

Learning Objectives:
1) Recognize the chemical and environmental exposure of the targeted population. 2) Review focus group participant recruitment process and lessons learned. 3) Identify the strengths of city interagency and local business collaboration engaging Vietnamese Nail technicians. 4) Articulate general health risks and concerns derived from focus group results.

Keywords: Community Health Programs, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Program partner in coordinating and developing community focus groups.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.