Online Program

Building infrastructure for community-linked health research: Focusing on the food environment in North Carolina

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sara A. Quandt, PhD, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Disparities in access to healthy foods are increasingly documented in US populations through public health research. Such disparities parallel disparities in chronic disease morbidity and mortality, the focus of much medical research. The Forsyth Healthy Living Collaborative (FHLC) is designed to bring together community and medical-school based researchers to address locally-recognized public health concerns and create community-linked research infrastructure. This roundtable presentation will highlight successful strategies centered on the local food environment undertaken by the FHLC. Guided by a diverse Food Environment Committee, a series of events and research projects have been conducted. Events included a community forum focused on healthy eating for children that brought together community members and researchers to consider national and regional approaches to disparities; and workshops on research methods that could engage community members in producing data with which to reveal patterns of existing disparities. Workshops included GIS (geographic information systems), NEMS (Nutrition Environment Measurement Survey), and photovoice research methods. Research included mapping of food sources (community gardens, farmers markets, grocery stores) with socioeconomic data, qualitative research on perceptions of the local food environment, and pilot intervention research to test a program linking local farms with clients of community non-profit agencies. The FHLC's role in facilitating the events and research and the larger impact of these on the community's increasing focus on the connection between food and health in local policy development demonstrate how medical researchers and communities can collaborate to build community research infrastructure.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain how a community-researcher partnership benefits the development of community-linked health research. Name strategies to fecilitate development of such a partnership.

Keyword(s): Partnerships, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the associate director of the Program in Community Engagement, Translational Science Institute, Wake Forest School of Medicine. I am also Professor of Public Health Sciences. I hold a PhD in medical anthropology. I directed the program described in this abstract.
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.