198526 Catalyzing change: Preventing intimate partner violence in an immigrant community

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:50 PM

Mieko Yoshihama, PhD, MSW, ACSW , School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Amy C. Hammock, MA, MSW , School of Social Work, University of Michigan, New York, NY
Mahmooda Khaliq Pasha, MHS , School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Aparna Ramakrishnan, MA, MSW , Center for Health Communication, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Developing socio-culturally relevant health promotion programs for immigrant communities requires considerable time and effort. Addressing controversial topics, such as intimate partner violence (IPV), requires overcoming additional challenges, such as community denial and minimization of the problem as well as reluctance to critique traditional practices in an effort to maintain a positive, unified image of the community in the face of marginalization and discrimination as a racial/ethnic minority group. Therefore, gaining credibility, trust, and support of community members is a key component in developing an effective IPV prevention program.

We describe the development and implementation of The Shanti Project (TSP), a theoretically- and empirically-based IPV prevention program in an Asian Indian community in the Midwest, which incorporated principles of community-based participatory research and social marketing. IPV in the Indian community remains largely hidden and is considered a taboo topic. We used the following strategies to garner community support for the project: partnership with formal and informal community leaders; ongoing collaboration with community- and faith-based organizations; and the formation of Community Action Team (CAT) and Circle of Supporters comprised of diverse community members. In partnership with these collaborators, we developed the messages and dissemination strategies. These included: activities that provided wide-reach (posters, PSAs, presentations at community-wide meetings); small informal gatherings using socio-culturally relevant materials (e.g., Bollywood films), and dissemination of bi-lingual campaign materials at ethnic stores. These strategies provided space for constructive dialogue, increasing community's ease in discussing IPV, and helping to move acknowledgement of IPV from the private to public sphere.

Learning Objectives:
Describe societal and structural factors that contribute to silence and lack of response by an immigrant community on IPV. Identify how to apply health behavior and social cognitive theories and social marketing strategies to IPV prevention programs. Identify several strategies to garner support and trust when engaging an immigrant community in primary prevention of IPV.

Keywords: Immigrant Domestic Violence, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the Project, involved in all aspects fo the project.
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.