241965 Story-telling and Ethnographic Research In a Black Storefront Church: Applications to Public Health Nursing

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Mary Abrums, BSN, MN, MA, PhD , Nursing Program, University of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA
This ethnographic and narrative analysis research was done using a feminist participatory community approach with a small group of poor and working class African American women from a storefront church in the Pacific Northwest. The original purpose of the study was to better understand the question of infant mortality by studying the community and by asking the women their perspectives on the causes of infant mortality. Ethnographic data was collected over 18 months and life history interviews were done with eight women, ages 19-81. In this participatory project, the women shifted the course of the research by defining “health” and “illness” broadly; by critically questioning the objectivity of statistics, noting the influence of racism and classism; and by reframing the question, thus situating it within the context of disparity and inequity. Thus the study became a description of the meanings of health, healing and illness within the women's explorations of their lives as poor and working class Black women. This presentation will focus on how “thick description” and the women's experiences from their stories illuminate the relationships between health disparities, racism, and classism. Strategies (as well as challenges, set-backs, rewards and insights) used to build relationships when there is a power differential between the researcher and community participants will be discussed. This research can help public health nurses to understand more about the communities they serve and to build relationships in their work with poor and working class communities of color.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the community participation process of ethnographic and story-telling research in a Black storefront church.

Keywords: African American, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content because I have done research in this area and have studied and taught extensively in the fields of disparity in health, discrimination, culture and diversity. I have published a book based on my research and I do receive a small stipend from this which I donate to the community participants.
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.