Term of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Ashley Walker

Committee Member 1

Hani Samawi

Committee Member 2

Gulzar Shah

Committee Member 3

Yelena N. Tarasenko

Committee Member 3 Email

ytarasenko@georgiasouthern.edu

Non-Voting Committee Member

Yelena N. Tarasenko

Abstract

Academic-community collaborations (ACCs) help communities identify health problems/priorities, improve social determinants of health, engage in the design and implementation of projects, and provide students with opportunities to learn outside the classrooms. Extensive research has focused on exploring challenges, facilitators, lessons learned, and best practices for conducting ACCs and engaging in partnerships. Nevertheless, no studies have evaluated the intra-organizational health attitudes of faculty in schools and colleges of public health and their impact on academic-community engagement. Organizational health attitudes matter because these are basic underlying assumptions that can shape the culture of academic-community engagement at schools and colleges of public health. Hence, this study explored health attitudes and academic-community engagement of faculty at accredited schools and public health colleges (SPHs) to assess academic-community engagement through an organizational lens. The study used a sequential mixed-methods study design. The data were collected from a stratified cluster sample of 21 SPHs, using an online survey of faculty members and a 45-minute follow-up phone interview. Spearman rank-order correlations were employed to assess the association between health attitudes, including (value of health interdependence, the value on well-being, emotional connection to the community, and community membership), and academic-community engagement. The total sample size included 147 participants. The majority of participants recognized that social and physical external factors influenced health. More than a third of the participants believed that community investment around five different policies to improve health and well-being was a top priority. Less than eleven percent of participants had a strong emotional connection and membership to their community. There was a weak negative correlation between value on well-being and engagement in population health activities. Interview results showed that lack of leadership support and tenure and promotional process affected both academic-community engagement and the health culture in SPHs. These findings highlight the importance of studying and nurturing health attitudes regarding academic-community engagement, as SPHs with strong health attitudes can lead the way towards a national culture of health.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

Yes

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