Online Program

Resident-led research in public housing to determine health needs and implement health improvements

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Anne Marie O'Keefe, PhD, JD, School of Community Health & Policy, Morgan State Univertsity, Baltimore, MD
Karen Settles, DC Citywide Advisory Board, Washington, DC
Kenneth Council, DC Housing Authority, Washington, DC
Julian Wilson, M.A., DC Housing Authority, Washington, DC
B. Michelle Harris, PhD, MPH, RD, Dept. Biological and Environnmental Sciences, University of District of Columbia, Washington, DC
Jeffrey Bingenheimer, MPH, PhD, School of Public Health & Health Services, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Corey Henderson, MPA, School of Community Health & Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Public housing resident leaders worked with staff from the DC Housing Authority to host a forum to examine the social determinants of health inequities and begin to educate, empower, and activate public housing residents. The forum was followed by focus groups that made it clear residents wanted to be included in decision-making for designing and implementing health interventions. Resident leaders and representatives from the DC Housing Authority staff, community health and public health organizations, began meeting monthly as the Citywide Advisory Board Health Planning Committee, including representatives from every public housing development in DC. With assistance from academics and health professionals, resident leaders designed a questionnaire to assess health status, health needs, and preferences for health interventions, and distributed it to all public housing households. Personal contacts, assured anonymity, and multiple opportunities for submission led to the collection of more than 1000 completed questionnaires. Analysis of the responses was supplemented by additional qualitative research. Top concerns expressed by residents included violence, environmental problems including roaches and polluted air inside and around public housing units, and limited access to good health care, especially for elderly and disabled residents. Asthma and mental health also ranked high among resident concerns. Throughout the process, membership on the Health Planning Committee expanded under the clear agreement that public housing residents would maintain the lead on research, advocacy, and program implementation. The project empowered residents and served as the foundation for continued collaboration with health and public health professionals to reduce health disparities in Washington, DC.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Design a process that is led by residents and assisted by health and academic organizations for conducting research in public housing to determine residents' perceived health threats and needs. Analyze results of resident-led research in public housing to define health needs and design health interventions to address those needs.

Keyword(s): Public Housing, Health Activism

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of the DC Citywide Advisory Board Health Planning Committee. I recruited and supervised several graduate students to assist in completing this resident-led research and reporting. I assisted in the analysis of the results, and the write-up of the reports.
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.