Online Program

Women as Stewards of Family & Community Health: Community Conversations' Sister to Sister Women's Health Initiative

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Dita Obler, MS, LCGC, Genetic Consultation and Counseling, Cambridge, MA
Keri Griffin, PhD, MPH, MPA, MCHES, School of Arts and Sciences, MCPHS University, Boston, MA
Audra Meadows, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
Robin Reed, MD, Physician Assistant Program, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Cheryl Clark, MD, ScD, Center for Community Health and Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
Yvette Cozier, DSc, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Boston, MA
Epidemiologic data has thoroughly documented startling disparities in health outcomes across chronic health conditions along with disparities in access to high quality health services for Black women living within the US.  The Community Conversations (CC) model is a model of community engagement that is designed to address these gaps in care by facilitating a better understanding of chronic health conditions and the resources available to prevent and/or manage these conditions among low-to-mid income Black families in Cambridge, MA.  Since 2009, CC brings together black women – both healthcare consumers and healthcare professionals – in monthly conversations that empower participants to become actively involved in improving and maintaining their own health and the health of their families. Conversations take place in a local beauty salon, are guided by an interdisciplinary team of local healthcare professionals, and focus on following areas: Health Literacy/Tools; Preserving and Promoting Physical and Emotional Health; and Navigating Healthcare Systems.  The model promotes a bi-directional dialogue that allows women to share knowledge and experience and identify opportunities for empowerment; replacing more conventional, hierarchical models for health information exchange where professionals deliver healthcare information to consumers without the opportunity for bilateral engagement and mutual learning.  The presentation will provide findings from our mixed-methods evaluation study showing that CC participants develop an increased sense of health literacy and self-efficacy, skills required to navigate a complex and fragmented healthcare system, experience changes in health attitudes and behaviors for both self and family, and engage in activities such as increased appropriate health care use and shared decision-making/partnering with providers.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify how Community Conversations promotes a bi-directional dialogue that empowers community participants to become actively involved in improving and maintaining their own health and their family’s health. Explain how the model increases health literacy, self-efficacy and healthcare system navigation skills among community participants. Discuss how bidirectional communication and engagement between healthcare providers and conversation participants combine in this model to promote increased shared decision-making, and thus improve quality health care and positive health outcomes among participants.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, Self-sufficiency and Empowerment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been in the field of public health for the last ten years, both in teaching and research capacities. Part of my work with health disparities was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH. This particular work has been taking place since 2009 and expounds upon traditional health education and promotion models to increase self-efficacy and informed and shared decision making among a population of black women.
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.