186093 Engaging community for structural changes to eliminate critical public health social epidemics in America and the Bahamas

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:15 PM

V. Diane Woods, DrPH, MSN , Psychology Department/African American Health Institute SBC, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
Robin Roberts, MD , School of Clincal Medicine and Research, The Bahamas/Past President, Medical Association of the Bahamas, University of the West Indies, Nassau, Bahamas
In America, over two million individuals are incarcerated for criminal behavior; indicating that violence and crime maybe emerging public health diseases. Sadly, African Americans and Latinos lead the criminal record systems statistics. Officials grabble with what to do to control these public health problems. While there are many methods to curtail criminal behavior, one promising approach with sustainable positive effect is grassroots self-help efforts lead by rehabilitated former offenders. Across the borders in the beautiful Bahamas (population 300,000), crime and violence are on the rise; a characteristic of an infectious disease. Recent popular news reports from the Bahamas indicated increased rates of murders and other crimes. In 2007, a total of 79 murders were recorded. To impact rampant criminal activities in the Bahamas, the Medical Association of the Bahamas and an American based community interdisciplinary collaborative of African Americans joined to replicate and share grassroots interventions of self-help organizations. The interdisciplinary American community collaborative included advocates, youth leaders, resource development associates, faith-based representatives, educators, nurses, physicians, and researchers. To affect structural changes in the Bahamas, partners included Medical Association of the Bahamas physician members, Chamber of Commerce Crime Committee, community and faith based organizations and the relevant government agencies. This paper will describe how a social ecological community-based participatory approach successfully applied in America was replicated in the Bahamas to plan for strategic mobilization for problem solving to reduce epidemic levels of crime and violence. Strategies implemented by self-help African American and Bahamian grassroots organizations will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this presentation, the participants will be able to: 1. Identify at least seven self-help strategies that reduce criminal behaviors at the community level 2. Describe five components of a social ecological model for community engagement and sustainable involvement in public health problem solving 3. Name at least three community structural changes that positively impact crime and violence among ethnic populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct community-based participatory research with ethnic minorities; published in peer-review journals; and collaborate on projects related to community engagement and self-help interventions in America and other countries.
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.