Although researchers do not fully understand the causes of race disparities in asthma, they have learned that much of the risk is attributable to preventable social and environmental features of the neighborhoods where children live, learn, and play. In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work partnered with the Homewood Children’s Village community organization to begin assessing the issue of children’s asthma. Ultimately, this multidisciplinary research team aims to examine the lived experiences of poor urban children and their families in order to better understand asthma, as well as the non-asthma-related social determinants that may trigger asthma, shape the course and severity of the disease and undermine interventions to manage it.
Within a CBPR approach, we utilize multiple methods to investigate the challenges faced by children with asthma in the target community of Homewood. The study findings will be used to propose a multi-level intervention to address children’s asthma in Homewood. Presenters will discuss the following four topics:
1) The first paper, “One Square Mile: Engaging Local Residents in Innovative Research to Improve Community and Family Health,” describes the university-community partnership, the collaboration with community stakeholders who work with children in multiple contexts (i.e. sports, childcare, schools), and teaching CBPR to local youth to explore the social–environmental challenges faced by their peers with asthma.
2) The second paper, “Using Concept Mapping with Parent and Youth Community Residents to Explore the Social and Environmental Influences on Children’s Asthma,” describes how the concept mapping method of data collection was used to engage neighborhood youth and caregivers (N=21) to identify triggers and healthcare-related factors influencing children with asthma.
3) The third paper, “Using Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to Identify Areas of Concern Regarding Neighborhood Youths’ Exposures to Air Pollution in Homewood, Pittsburgh, PA,” describes neighborhood youth working with members of the University to collect tree leaves that were analyzed to assess outdoor environmental air quality and to gauge exposure to airborne toxins as potential triggers for an asthma exacerbation.
4) The fourth paper, “Social Determinants of Asthma and the Healthy Living, Healthy Learning, Healthy Lives Community-Based Participatory Research Project,” describes the multi-level conceptual framework guiding the HL3 study, which was used to inform a pilot survey. We examine the interplay of factors operating at the individual, family, and community levels that make up the framework and present survey results (N=50) on these factors.