256519 Nurturing Hope: Healthy Food Participation and Community-Building at Intertribal Friendship House

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Carol Wahpepah, MFA , Reconnecting with Mother Earth Project, Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland, CA
Purpose: Interpreting American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) community health programming through the lens of asset-based community development (ABCD) is rarely deployed; therefore research on its efficacy requires further refinement. Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) uniquely exhibits holistic health programming in serving the Bay Area AI/AN population and is an opportunity to understand the ABCD approach in action. Methods: In partnership with public health institutions Seva Foundation and the Northern California Society for Public Health Education, the ABCD method was used to interpret skills and experiences among AI/AN community members participating in urban garden activities as one IFH programming case study. IFH implemented a qualitative data collection method—through standardized, open-ended interviews—among 16 community members. The garden program's social impact was evaluated and input was directly elicited from members to develop an Impact Assessment Report. Results: Despite the extreme heterogeneity of the population (i.e. complex histories and diverse cultural/tribal backgrounds), qualitative data shows that IFH has been successful in strengthening community relations, facilitating community talents and creating space for exchange of traditions by deploying the ABCD model. IFH's 278 sq. ft. community garden has proven to do more than produce food and medicines: In drawing from the diverse cultural assets of its members, it has been a catalyst for community-building and recovery of traditional health practices. Conclusion: IFH, within its diverse urban AI/AN community, successfully utilized the ABCD approach to construct culturally relevant health programming that builds on the inherent traditional knowledge and cultural practices of its target population.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Define the concept of asset-based community development through a public health perspective. Identify an example of asset-based community development in practice in an urban AI/AN community.

Keywords: Indigenous Populations, Community Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Executive Director of an urban Native American community center and have more than 30 years experience in rebuilding our community's health; my focus as been on various programs targeting social determinants of health such as education, food insecurity, early childhood development, and social safety networks.
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.