185611 Oakland Asian Youth Envisioning Health through Photovoice

Monday, October 27, 2008: 11:00 AM

Monica Ulhee Hahn, MPH , Health and Medical Sciences, UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program, Berkeley, CA
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, MD MPH , Health and Medical Sciences, UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program, Berkeley, CA
Colette Auerswald, MD, MS , Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Cheri Pies, MSW, DrPH , Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs, Contra Costa Health Services, Martinez, CA
Jere Takahashi, PhD , Department of Asian American Studies, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

There is a paucity of research exploring the health needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, largely due to the influence of the “model minority” myth. Despite this stereotype, AAPI youth in Oakland, CA face challenges to maintaining health, such as poverty and low educational attainment levels.

Objective: The aims of this study are to capture the health needs, strengths and structural barriers affecting AAPI youth using Photovoice, an innovative participatory research method.


A needs and strengths assessment utilizing Photovoice and individual interviews was conducted with 8 AAPI youth aged 14-17. Photovoice is a method which blends a grassroots approach to photography with social action. Youth participants took photos that represented the most salient health issues in their community and engaged in critical reflection and dialogue surrounding the photos. The transcripts of six Photovoice sessions and follow-up individual interviews with each youth were analyzed for prominent themes using open coding.


Major themes elucidated include risk factors related to structural violence, including poverty, lack of access to resources such as health care and jobs, facilitated access to health risks such as fast food, alcohol and tobacco, gender- and race-based violence, gang activity and stress and coping issues. A prominent positive theme elucidated by the youth is the benefit of youth programs in promoting resilience.


Photovoice is a useful health assessment method. Study findings will inform best practices in health provision for AAPI youth. Recommendations include increasing support for youth development programs and youth-friendly health services.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: -Describe the value and utility of Photovoice as a community based participatory research method. -Understand the consequences of the model minority stereotype on AAPI health. -Discuss the public health implications of structural violence issues identified by Photovoice youth participants. -Discuss the importance of involving community members in community-based participatory health research efforts.

Keywords: Asian Americans, Participatory Action Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have past experience in planning and implementing community-based participatory research projects and conducting qualitative research.
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.