229813 Una comunidad saludable: Implementing a meaningful health education and water sanitation program in the highlands of the Dominican Republic

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheríe S. Blair, MPH , David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Elizabeth Pérez-Medina, BA, MPH(c) , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Milena Delgado , Cluser Ecoturistico Constanza, Cluster Ecoturistico Constanza, Constanca, Dominican Republic
Zobeida Bonilla, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Fernando Ona, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
The Dominican Republic has experienced strong tourism growth in recent years. Despite this growth, a corresponding investment in basic services, such as sanitation, has not been experienced by many communities in the country. This is exemplified in the Dominican highlands, where nature-based tourism is one of the main sources of income and where socio-economic status appears to influence the link between access to safe and clean water and health outcomes. In the case of Constanza, Dominican Republic, water handling practices and poor access to safe and clean water results in high incidence of stomach problems and diarrheal diseases among community members. Although poor access to clean water affects all members of the community, morbidity linked to poor water quality appears to affect disproportionally community members of lower socio-economic status. Una Comunidad Saludable is a student-led effort to address access to safe and clean water through a low cost intervention designed to reduce bacterial contamination and increase knowledge about safe water handling practices and proper water sanitation techniques among community members. It seeks to address social justice issues that are connected to structural and environmental inequities through the active involvement of community members, organizations, and researchers in a health education and water sanitation program to enhance access to safe and clean water in the community. By mobilizing community members into action, health education efforts will not only translate in the improvement of individual health outcomes, but in community ownership of positive environmental and health outcomes in the Dominican highlands.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe components of a community-based intervention to improve access to safe and clean water. 2. Discuss the importance of community participation in the promotion of social justice.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have several years of experience conducting research.
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.