205301 Functioning of resident groups in a community-based health promotion program

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:45 AM

Seunghyun Yoo, DrPH , Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
James Butler, DrPH, MEd , Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Center for Minority Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Thistle I. Elias, MPA , Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Functional community groups are an indispensable asset of community-based participatory research and practice as they share their indigenous knowledge, interest, and ability to identify and address relevant issues to their community's health. The performance of 12 community resident groups among low-income older adults in a community-based health promotion program in southwestern Pennsylvania are reviewed to identify patterns of their inputs, processes, and outputs in group functioning. Along with a 2-year-long observational period, 191 meeting documents, reports, and other related files were reviewed for this qualitative study. Consistent and cohesive member participation in community group activities, consistency of community group meetings, and preexisting leadership in the communities appear as major functional qualities of the community resident groups that are related to more focused goal identification and achievement. Considerations of context, as well as expanding the types of inputs, processes, and outputs to be examined, are required to better understand community group functions. Conflicts between existing and new leadership, frail health of core community members, community history of distrust, hopelessness and/or lack of motivation, and the influence of funders to coerce community groups' direction are examples of contextual factors observed in this study. Without considering these contextual factors, understanding of the functional perspectives of community groups may not only be incomplete but even be distorted. Also, leadership and its development deserve attention as a critical quality of group functioning and community capacity.

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify core elements of functional community groups and steps to increase their capacity; 2.Discuss the challenges of predicting functionality of community groups.

Keywords: Community Capacity, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive experience conducting commynity-based health promotion campaigns and interventions among underserved populations including the elderly.
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.