208418 Pounding the Pavement Together: Lessons Learned from an Environmental Assessment of East Harlem

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Ellen Plumb, BA , Department of Health Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Sonia Ortiz , Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center, New York, NY
Mischka Garel, MPH , Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Health Policy, Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center, New York, NY
Michelle Ramos, MPH , Union Settlement Association/ Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center, New York, NY
Carol Horowitz, MD, MPH , Department of Health Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Effective public health involves engaging community stakeholders in all stages of the intervention planning process. In an effort to assess the built environment to plan interventions that promote diabetes prevention and control, local researchers and community members from the Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities partnered to develop and conduct an environmental assessment of several census tracts in Harlem. After completion of the assessment, researcher and community resident dyads completed a survey about their experiences. These surveys were used to evaluate their collective experiences in engaging in collaborative research. Results of the environmental assessment show that researcher and community resident dyads were highly consistent in their objective observations of the built environment. Post-assessment surveys with research-community resident dyads provide additional data about how the personal history and experience of a community resident informs the research process. Surveys revealed a common interest in improving health in the community. In agreeing to partner with researchers, community residents expressed a desire to enact change in their community. At the same time community residents were concerned that their involvement in research could negatively impact their social standing in the neighborhood. Researchers gained a better understanding of the importance of using community residents' insider perspectives to contextualize the data. Garnering involvement from community residents fosters more active partnership and provides a new and innovative way to collect meaningful data. This approach to assessing the environment provided a foundation for future collaborative program planning around diabetes prevention and control in Harlem.

Learning Objectives:
Describe an approach to conducting formal assessments with researchers and community residents in equal partnership.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Assessments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a fourth year medical student and Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow with an undergraduate degree in anthropology and 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.