218953 A Student's Perspective from Behind the Clipboard for a Mixed-Methods, CBPR Project on Healthy Lifestyle Resources and Childhood Obesity in Gallup, New Mexico

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nora Testerman, BA, MPH Student , Community Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Greeley, CO
Elizabeth Gilbert, EdD , Community Health, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado School of Public Health, Greeley, CO
Teresa Sharp, PhD , Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO
Issues: Public health issues and theoretical concepts are taught in the classroom in order to educate public health students about social determinants of health, yet field research that immerses students into marginalized communities is an important part of the student experience in order to show how these theories are put into practice. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) plays an important role in developing a reciprocal relationship between student researchers and community members, deepening the learning opportunities for both. Description: In June 2009, a group of 12 students (undergraduate, graduate and doctoral) and four professors from three diverse universities conducted a pilot mixed-methods CBPR study to evaluate the impact of community layout and access to healthy lifestyle resources on the development of childhood obesity in a rural, primarily American Indian, population in the Southwest. Qualitative and quantitative assessments included: focus groups, community surveys, clinically-based physical health measures, community mapping and BEAT and NEMS resource assessment tools. Lessons Learned: Although both tangible and intangible benefits of being a student participant in research were invaluable, there are challenges that arise in a project with such a wide scope. These challenges provide a unique educational opportunity for future immersion by students into a community in which they are the outsider. Recommendations: Future student involvement in CBPR and particularly sustained efforts in this community is highly recommended. Classroom theory is best paired with hands-on experience, especially in a historically marginalized population that could benefit greatly from collaborative, evidence-based community interventions.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss a studentís perspective on a mixed-use, multi-university collaborative research project, by highlighting the benefits of student participation and the challenges of being an outsider to the community. 2. Identify opportunities for future student involvement.

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was one of the student researchers on this project and spent 3 weeks doing hands-on research in Gallup.
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.