208293 A new standard for neighborhood assessments: Working with community members to interpret findings

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:45 PM

Melissa C. Lovell, MPH , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Ashley E. Martin, BA , Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Stacey C. Cunningham, MS , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Jeanette H. Magnus, MD, PhD , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
As the old saying goes “knowledge is power” and as data collectors we have the power to use our findings how we want. The power paradigm is shifted when the findings of a study are returned to the studied population and they become the owners of their data. The Mary Amelia Center (MAC) ensured that the results of our Creating Community Connections project, an assessment of three neighborhoods in the New Orleans area, were shared with the respective communities by facilitating open forums where the results could be discussed. Open forums provided an opportunity to learn about issues that had not been exposed by our data analysis and also to verify our analysis was accurate and representative of community views. To encourage participation several small presentations were given in each neighborhood. The presentations provided a brief description of our findings and an invitation to the forum. During the forums, our detailed findings were presented then guided discussion explored the community responses. Nominal group processing techniques ensured equal participation among community members, a thorough interpretation of the data findings and movement toward conclusions about community priorities. An assets-based approach to the assessment helped identify MAC as an organization that could be trusted as an equal partner in the joint effort of promoting community health. Many partnerships with community members and organizations were developed during this sharing and learning project as well as a comprehensive view of the neighborhoods that aids in the development of MAC's strategic approach to community-based work.

Learning Objectives:
1.Discuss the importance of sharing research findings with the studied community. 2.List the benefits of using nominal group processing in a large community forum. 3.Evaluate the usefulness of a sharing and learning activity in the development of an organizational strategic plan.

Keywords: Community Health Assessment, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved with this project for over one year as an implementer and evaluator.
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.