Online Program

Photovoice: A method to understand perceptions of cardiovascular health in the "stroke belt"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sarah Kowitt, MPH, School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Briana Woods-Jaeger, PhD, Developmental & Behavioral Sciences, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
Jesse Lomas, BSPH, School of Medicine, UNC Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, Chapel Hill, NC
Tamara Taggart, MPH, PhD, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Linden Thayer, BA, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Sussie Sutton, MSA, Lenoir County, LaGrange, NC
Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and African Americans experience greater mortality than people of other races/ethnicities. Given the importance of cardiovascular disease prevention, this study aimed to understand how African American adults and adolescents conceptualize cardiovascular health and perceive related barriers and facilitators.

Methods: This qualitative study was conducted as formative research for a larger study, Heart Healthy Lenoir, which aimed to reduce cardiovascular disease disparities among African Americans in eastern North Carolina, part of the widely-known "stroke belt" that runs through the Southeastern United States. Using photovoice, a community-based participatory research method, we conducted 8, 90-minute photovoice sessions with 6 adults and 9 adolescents in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Topics for each discussion were selected by participants and reflected themes related to cardiovascular health promotion. All sessions were transcribed and coded using a data-driven, inductive approach.

Results: Participants conceptualized cardiovascular health to include mental, spiritual, and social health dimensions. Given these broad domains, participants acknowledged many ecological barriers to cardiovascular health; however, they also emphasized the importance of personal responsibility. Facilitators for cardiovascular health included using social health (e.g., family/community relationships) and spiritual health dimensions (e.g., understanding one’s body and purpose) to improve health behaviors.

Conclusion: Eliciting the perspectives of African American adults and adolescents through this formative research provided a strong foundation for the Heart Healthy Lenoir’s ongoing engagement of community members in Lenoir County and development and implementation of its cardiovascular disease intervention.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how photovoice was used as a community-based participatory research approach to understand perspectives of cardiovascular health among African American adults and adolescents.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Chronic Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have had extensive experience working with communities on public health research projects during my MPH and PhD training in public health. In addition, I have led several qualitative projects and evaluations of public health promotion interventions.
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.