Online Program

Evaluating the Effects of the Harmony, FL Built Environment on Health Outcomes and Best Practices

Monday, November 2, 2015

Anne Jeanene Bengoa, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Duane C. McBride, PhD, Behavioral Science Department, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
Clyde B. McCoy, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Alejandro Mendez, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Objectives:  Researchers at the University of Central Florida and University of Miami are initiating a longitudinal study examining the relationship between health behavior/status and key elements of the planned physical/natural environment of Harmony, FL. This ~2,000 member community was designed over 10 years ago with the intent to promote healthy interactions between humans and nature. The study will attempt to examine the additive and interactive effects of engagement with the natural environment for youth and adults. The results from the Harmony Translational Health Study will provide the fundamental knowledge for the creation of community best practices, such as the specific interactions between humans, animals and the environment in improving the health of individual communities.

Methods:  Based on the resources and scope of the current project it was decided that the creation of a baseline questionnaire that would be administered regularly would best serve the initial and long-term objectives. A thorough systematic review of the literature in respects to individual questionnaires (over 30 with about 3,500 questions) that examine the unique interactions between the built, natural environment (including dark skies), human-animal interactions and health was conducted. Final questions were drawn from various sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7th Day Adventist and World Health Organization. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was chosen as the core foundation for adults (> 18 years), while the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System was chosen as the core for both children (middle school and under, ~<14 years) and youth (high school; ~14-18 years). The foundational questionnaires were key for comparability and general health risk assessment, however there were still large gaps in the research objectives not addressed. Therefore additional questions were reviewed by committee members of the Harmony Translational Health Study for inclusion in the pilot questionnaire. The pilot questionnaire is being tested among reference populations.  After incorporating needed changes discovered during the pilot test phase, the initial baseline questionnaire will be administered to the resident community.

Results:  The pilot questionnaire will be distributed over the summer and results will be analyzed prior to the fall roll out of the full resident baseline questionnaire. Initial results of the baseline will be analyzed and ready for presentation by the time of the conference. Therefore both the pilot and initial baseline results will be presented at the conference.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the methods used to create the community-based health questionnaire for Harmony, FL. List the sources and literature used for the basis of the questionnaire's creation. Compare the preliminary data from Harmony participants to that of respondents from the same county, state and national population. Evaluate the effectiveness of the current strategy for assessing the health of the community and its environmental interactions. Discuss future steps and objectives of the Harmony Translational Health Study.

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Community-Based Research (CBPR)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project manager for the current Harmony Translational Health Study focusing on the impact of the built environment on community health. I have been working in Public Health for 20 years with a focus on environmental and community health.
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.

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