Developing and Implementing a Community Empowerment Center to Build Local Capacity for Community-level Change
Background: Health disparities research is increasingly influenced by two paradigms: community-based participatory research (CBPR) and social determinants of health (SDOH). CBPR calls for collaborative research relationships that empower communities to co-generate research programs while SDOH perspectives focus on macro-level, “upstream” factors influencing health. The purpose of this study was to utilize a CBPR approach to address SDOH among residents of a public-housing community and adjacent neighborhood in Columbia, SC.
Methods: A mini-grant program was developed to encourage community members to develop community-level, community-engaged interventions focused on creating a healthier environment. A six-session training program guided community members in proposal development, with 25 individuals attending at least one session.
Results: Six proposals were submitted for external peer-review. Proposals were scored according to the degree of widespread community benefit, effective community engagement, and feasibility of implementation within a 6-month timeframe. Submitted proposals focused on food security (n=2), exercise (n=1), computer literacy (n=2), and community advocacy (n=2). The three awarded interventions focused on food security, exercise, and community advocacy. Each awardee team received $12,000 for implementation over six months. Additionally, a community garden was implemented in the community. The four interventions were evaluated collectively using a quasi-experimental design to assess their ability to increase community participation among residents.
Conclusions: Community-generated, community-level, and community-engaged interventions provide community members with opportunities to address neighborhood concerns within a locale-specific context. The findings provide guidance for engaging community members in the development of community level interventions.
American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)
New Orleans, LA
Smallwood, Stacy W., Ronald Pitner, Darcy Freedman, Patricia Sharpe, Jennie Ann Cole, Shanna Hastie.
"Developing and Implementing a Community Empowerment Center to Build Local Capacity for Community-level Change."
Community Health Faculty Presentations.