209045 Community engagement, community organization, coalition building and community based participatory research: Mobilizing communities to engage in research

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:15 AM

Jewel D. Stafford, MSW , Graduate Program in Public Health/ Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
Melody S. Goodman, PhD , Graduate Program in Public Health/ Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University - School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
The Suffolk County Minority Health Action Coalition (SMHAC) is a unique alliance between an academic medical research center, the local health department, community-based organizations, community residents, and key community health stakeholders; with the mission to examine and address the disproportionate burden of health disparities impacting racial/ethnic and medically underserved populations. This comprehensive community-based network has leveraged the power of partnerships, and harnessed synergy among community stakeholders.

SMHAC was developed utilizing the principles of community engagement, community organizing, and coalition building. This community partnered approach has been effective in mobilizing communities to engage in community based participatory research and develop culturally appropriate interventions. A consistent community presence was established through community forums known as Mini-summits on Minority Health; unique forums designed to unite and mobilize community stakeholders to address and improve minority health outcomes and develop a comprehensive action plan. Participants identified areas of concerns; developed recommended strategies and measurable goals to monitor and evaluate progress. Intermediate outcomes include collaborative grant proposals based on SMHAC recommendations and members becoming agents of social change.

Community –campus partnerships are challenging and require effective facilitation skills to achieve consensus, encourage collaboration among stakeholders, and develop sustainable results. There are “no cookbook solutions” to community engagement; each community is unique in needs and resources. It was necessary to develop a flexible framework that would set boundaries while allowing coalition members to provide content and direction. This framework and guiding principles are not specific to Suffolk County and may be generalizable to communities across the country.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the framework and guiding principles that are used to engage diverse community stakeholders in CBPR; 2. Examine how to achieve the balance between community driven agendas and institutional demands.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Public Health Social Worker (MSW) and Research Coordinator for the Center for Public Health & Health Policy Research in the Graduate Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
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.