The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Working with Communities to Generate Community-Level and Community-Engaged Interventions to Create Healthy Environments

Friday, January 18, 2013: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Executive Center 2A (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Ronald Pitner, PhD, University of South Carolina, Darcy Freedman, PhD, University of South Carolina, Stacy Smallwood, MPH, University of South Carolina, Patricia Sharpe, PhD, University of South Carolina, Jennie Ann Cole, MSW, University of South Carolina, Jessica Hunter, BA, University of South Carolina, Kiesha Webb, BSW, University of South Carolina, Lauren Workman, MPH, University of South Carolina and Shanna Hastie, LMSW, University of South Carolina
Health disparities research is increasingly influenced by 2 research paradigms: community-based participatory research (CBPR) and social determinants of health (SDOH). CBPR approaches call for collaborative research relationships that empower communities to co-generate research programs while SDOH perspectives focus on macro-level or “upstream” factors influencing individual health outcomes. This workshop will use presentation, facilitated dialogue, and an interactive exercise to demonstrate how a CBPR approach can be used to address SDOH among residents living in a public housing community and an adjacent neighborhood. We first introduce “Repaired Window Theory,” which provides the theoretical underpinnings for using community-generated, community-level, and community-engaged interventions to reduce community crime and perceptions of crime by promoting community participation and interaction, neighborhood ownership, and collective action. These processes of community engagement are critical to the promotion of healthy neighborhood environments more broadly. We will illustrate how Repaired Window Theory was used to guide the development of the Community Empowerment Center (CEC), the cornerstone of a quasi-experimental community trial conducted in 2 public housing communities in Columbia, SC. The CEC is staffed by a fulltime director and 2 MSW foundation field students and serves as a springboard for building residents’ capacity to develop community-level, community-engaged interventions. In this presentation, we will first describe a 6-session Community Workshop Program that was developed to provide technical assistance to community members in the development of grant proposals focused on community-level and community-engaged interventions that focused on creating healthier community environments through neighborhood improvement. Second, the Request For Applications (RFA) that community members could respond to will be presented; the peer-review process used to independently evaluate each submitted grant application will also be discussed.  An interactive exercise will be used to demonstrate how the grant applications were scored, which focused on the degree to which the proposed interventions benefited everyone in the community and engaged community members in the change process in a manner that was feasible within a 6-month timeframe. Third, we will review the proposals selected for funding; each received up to $12,000 to enact their interventions over a 6-month timeframe. The awarded programs focused on hunger and food security, exercise and wellness, and community advocacy. Finally, we will present the mixed methods approach developed to evaluate the funded mini grants including strategies employed across grants to understand levels of engagement as well as unique methods employed for specific projects to capture programmatic-related outcomes. The workshop will conclude with facilitated dialogue about the facilitators and barriers to implementing the mini grant program with community members ranging from managing the fiscal aspects of the grants to working with grantees to move beyond traditional modes of program delivery to engage more community members in implementation efforts. Workshop participants will receive copies of the Community Workshop curriculum, the RFA and scoring procedures, and other CEC materials.
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