270222 Factors associated with veterans service organizations posts decision to participate in a health promotion program

Monday, October 29, 2012

Leslie Patterson, MS , Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Emily McGinley, MPH, MS , Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Jeffrey Morzinski, PhD, MSW , Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Kristyn Ertl, BA , Clement J Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI
Robert Fyfe , American Legion Post 537, Milwaukee, WI
Jeff Whittle, MD, MPH , Clement J Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI
Introduction: Veterans' service organizations (VSOs) can be important partners in efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles and chronic disease self-management among aging veterans. This study partnered community medicine personnel, Veteran Health Administration (VHA) staff, and VSO posts to identify post characteristics associated with voluntary participation in a health-focused intervention. Posts are local units of VSOs that meet regularly to conduct business.

Methods: In our program, trained peer-leaders helped fellow members of 73 participating VSO posts to improve hypertension self-management. We approached all 218 eligible posts located within 60 miles of the nearest VA Medical Center (VAMC). We followed an initial mailed project description with a phone call requesting a post visit. We categorized posts' participation level as not accepting a visit (“no visit”), accepting a visit but not participating (“visit only”), or participating (“participant”). We surveyed posts and used census data to identify factors predictive of participation. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors independently associated with participation.

Results: In bivariable analyses, likelihood of participation was positively associated with increasing membership (p<0.001), meeting attendance (p<0.001), publication of an organizational newsletter (p<0.001), presence of a Women's Auxiliary (p=0.02), and location within 44 miles of the VAMC (p=0.047). In multivariable analysis, only meeting attendance and Census tract-level educational attainment predicted participation.

Conclusions: VSOs are willing to partner with community medicine departments and VHA staff to improve veterans' health. Greater membership sizes, meeting attendance, and more group resources might be important factors for researchers to consider when initiating community-based health and wellness programs.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the study methods used to identify factors associated with participation in this health-focused intervention. 2. List factors associated with community-based VSO posts’ decision to participate in the intervention. 3. Discuss key factors that public and community health researchers should consider in order to maximize the impact of community-based health promotion projects.

Keywords: Aging, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a research coordinator on multiple local and federally funded grants focusing on community health worker models, community health education, and community-based health-focused interventions. My current research agenda focuses on implementing chronic disease management interventions for U.S. veterans using peer support models.
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.