202499 Association of social capital measures with utilization of health care services among residents of the Alabama Black Belt

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angela Warren Baumann, MPH , Division of Community Health, Jefferson County Department of Health, Birmingham, AL
H.R. Foushee, PhD , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Connie Kohler, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes and hypertension, which are causes of kidney failure, coronary heart disease, and stroke. The communities evaluated in this study are located in the Black Belt region of Alabama, which is a region of 18 counties in Southern Alabama characterized by high poverty rates, high unemployment, and poor access to education and medical care, and life expectancy 5.3 years less than the national average. The purpose of this intervention was to determine if a community-based health intervention using community health advisors as disseminators of health information could be effective in decreasing the incidence of chronic disease related risk factors among community members and increase the use of community support and resources. Residents from twenty communities in seven counties within Alabama's Black Belt completed surveys which assessed various dimensions of social capital and chronic disease related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors including pursuit of health examinations and screenings. Surveys were administered before and after the intervention. At baseline, 1,380 household surveys were completed. The mean age of participants was 50.8 years, 87.0% were African Americans, 67.2% were women, 69.8% had a high school diploma or less education, and 58.4% reported an annual household income of $25,000 or less. Community trust was significantly associated with more recent dental exams, eye exams, cholesterol screenings, and mammograms. Further analyses will be conducted using baseline and post-intervention measures. Implications of these findings for community-based risk-reduction interventions will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Name the dimensions used to assess social capital. Describe the dimensions of social capital and how they are measured. Discuss how social capital affects health behaviors.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received a MPH degree in May 2004 from the UAB School of Public Health. Currently, I am a 2nd year doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior in the UAB School of Public Health.
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.