262434 Eat Walk Sleep Discuss: Building a Participatory Relationship Using Many Small Steps

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meredith Walsh, MPH, RN , Graduate Entry Pathway, UMass Graduate School of Nursing, Worcester, MA
Clara Savage, EdD , MA Dept of Public Health CHNA8, Common Pathways, Worcester, MA
Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD , Family Medicine and Community Health, UMass Medical School, Worcester, MA
Suzanne Cashman, ScD , Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Background/significance: Relationships between community and university partners need to be responsive to opportunities for addressing emerging community needs as well as for identifying research resources. Building a long term partnership from a series of initiatives is challenging but achievable. Objective/Purpose: Guided by the Healthy Communities paradigm, a multi-faceted relationship developed between UMass Medical School, the MA Department of Public Health Community Health Network Area (CHNA) Common Pathways Coalition and the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP). Methods: Student-engaged community work at WRAP was originally supported by an external foundation fellowship. Existing partnerships between the university and the local CHNA were leveraged to expand the relationship with WRAP. Portions of an ongoing CHNA-led summer conversation series were utilized for refugee community identification, needs assessment, and neighborhood asset mapping exercises. Prevention Research Center funding allowed the partners to employ the community-based participatory research approach to identify health topics of mutual concern and to pilot research on primary prevention of chronic disease. Results: All partners were better able to achieve mission-based goals through partnership activities. Community members were able to play a central role in adapting and piloting existing prevention curricula. Students and refugee youth together provided health education to families, creating a foundation for meaningful future caregiving relationships. Discussion: A partnership among multiple agencies/organizations can grow from roots in student engagement. This type of partnership, developed from multiple small initiatives, can engage in a range of community-based participatory activities, which can be shaped in response to needs as they are identified and defined.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the use of university-community partnerships for advancing health promotion and prevention conversations with local community groups Explain how constructing simple maps can help build capacity among community groups Describe how a partnership was strengthen and advanced through building on multiple modest initiatives

Keywords: Community-Based Partnership, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with community-based organizations (CBOs) on the Thai-Burma border, focused on gender-based violence and adolescent maternal and child health programming at the Mae Tao Clinic and facilitated reproductive health coordination among international NGOs and CBOs serving refugees, migrants, and cross-border populations along the Thai-Burma border. I am also a founding member of a non-profit agency that provides wraparound services to assist refugees from Burma as they adjust to life in the US.
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.