Online Program

Dance as health education for community health workers

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Katie Cueva, MAT, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Melany Cueva, RN, EdD, Community Health Aide Program, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage, AK
Background: Alaska's geographic vastness creates challenges in health care access. Specially-trained, village-based Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide healthcare in Alaska's remote, rural communities, receiving training and continuing education in Alaska's urban centers. During course offerings, CHWs have shared that inclusion of interactive artistic activities supports their learning. Dance has been identified as a traditional way of knowing in Alaska Native communities, while movement allows for kinesthetic understanding and integration of knowledge with intellectual and emotional domains.

Methods: CHWs participated in dance as health education during cancer and wellness courses. After warming up and introducing basic movement vocabulary, CHWs reviewed key course concepts by creating representative movements. In pairs, course participants share their movements, stringing the motions together to lead a CHW-created health dance.

Results: Seven 5-day wellness courses since 2008 and seven 5-day cancer courses since 2009, have included dance as health education for 145 CHWs. 127 women and 18 men were course participants, including 110 who self-identified as Alaska Native and/or American Indian. 98% of course participants (142/145) completed an end-of-course written evaluation. Participants reported ways they planned to incorporate course information into their self-care practices (121/142) and community wellness (124/142). Themes of how participants described dance as cancer education included; enhancing course likeability, a fun way to bring learners together, inspiring creativity, helping express participant ideas, and increasing memory retention of course content.

Conclusions: Qualitative data demonstrates CHWs support of dance in health education and their resulting intent to change behavior as a result of the educational experience.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate dance as a culturally appropriate and interactive method of health education for Community Health Workers. Describe the impacts of dance as health education among Alaskan Community Health Workers.

Keyword(s): Health Education, Alaska Natives

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have instructed the dance portions of the wellness and cancer education courses, hold a Master of Arts in Teaching, and have assisted with analysis of CHW course participants' evaluation responses.
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.