229955 Living well program: An activity-based wellness program to address health disparities in low-income African-American adults

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L , School of Health, St. Catherine University, Minneapolis, MN
Objective – This research aimed to (1) Address community-identified needs in a low-income neighborhood with reported health disparities, (2) Use a participatory approach to develop and implement a culturally-responsive, activity-based health promotion program

Methods – Participatory research phases were: (1) Conducting a Needs Assessment to prioritize health topics, (2) development, implementation, and evaluation of Living Well Program. Participants were African-Americans, women and average age of 69 years. Program was offered at a low-income apartment complex and a community center. The SF-36 health survey was used to obtain baseline data on health status. Qualitative data was obtained by two semi-structured interviews, at the beginning and the end of the Living Well Program

Results/Limitations/Conclusions: A 10-module curriculum was implemented at two community sites. The SF-36 showed that 93% of participants reported that their health limited their participation in moderate activities. The physical activity, stress management and healthy eating sessions received the highest ranking and a need for more classes on all ten topics, particularly stress management and depression was identified. All participants reported their level of daily physical activity had improved greatly since the start of the program. Participants identified specific barriers to maintaining, managing or improving their personal health. Barriers include limited finances and transportation challenges. The four most common themes that emerged included: 1) chronic stress, 2) inescapable poverty, 3) a mistrust of the healthcare system, and 4) a perceived lack of social support. The key contributors to health disparities appear to be environmental rather than personal behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process of developing and implementing a community-driven health promotion program for marginalized communities. 2. Discuss the importance of contextually-relevant, culturally-responsive and activity-based health-promoting activities to enhance participation. 3. Identify strategies to address challenges of implementing and sustaining health promotion programs in marginalized communities.

Keywords: Community Health Programs, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI for the grant and the primary researchere of this study
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.