224674 Building Partnerships for Community Health: A Trans-Disciplinary Research to Action Initiative in Community Health, Environment, and Sustainable Tourism (RAICES) in the Dominican Republic

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zobeida Bonilla, PhD, MPH , Epidemiology & Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Fernando Ona, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Charles Chancellor, PhD , Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Katie Grove, PhD, LAT, ATC , Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Finding solutions to complex public health needs calls for the creation of strategic, multi-sector and multidisciplinary partnerships to draw from the strengths, skills, and competencies of different players. This paper examines a social justice and health collaboration between academia and a non-government organization in the Dominican Republic dedicated to the development of sustainable tourism. Initially the collaborative approach focused on technical assistance to support activities related to sustainable tourism and environmental health. However, leaders at the non-governmental organization recognized that improving community health was a crucial indicator for development and growth, and that such investment fortifies the young ecotourism industry. In this context the RAICES (Research to Action Initiative in Community health, Environment and Sustainable tourism) initiative was born as an academic trans-disciplinary collaboration with community residents, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations to understand the root causes of social, economic, and health inequities, and contribute to the overall development of the community of Constanza in the mountainous interior of the Dominican Republic. The RAICES (Spanish word for roots) project is working on ecotourism, environmental health, and in key sectors of community health such as water sanitation, maternal and child health, and health education. Drawing from examples and preliminary findings of ongoing research projects, this presentation will describe this collaboration that centers on the generation of knowledge for action, participatory processes, and capacity building within an ecological framework.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
(1) Describe a trans-disciplinary academic collaboration with a local non-government organization as an example of research and practice that can benefit key community health indicators and local economic development. (2) Examine how tourism and public health work together to promote social justice.

Keywords: Partnerships, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project director of this initiative and have research and service experience in the county.
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.