Project 1 - 2010
A. SPECIFIC AIMS (Unmodified from original).
1. Evaluate the impact of intervention strategies for overcoming the following barriers to reproductive healthcare seeking for African American women residing in the study’s setting (Hudson, New York). Primary intervention strategies include a series of community health education events and a transportation voucher program.
2. Increase (by the end of the data collection period of the project, December 2012) by at least 25% the number of African American women in Hudson, New York and environs who are receiving reproductive healthcare as demonstrated by increased clinical attendance at the local publicly funded reproductive healthcare provider, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
B. STUDIES AND RESULTS
1. In 2010, through October, the Project conducted 5 Community Health Education Events (one every two months) on topics related to women’s reproductive health. Each event began with a health resource fair, during which participants had the opportunity to visit tables offering information, health screenings (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose screenings provided local public health agencies), and appointments for reproductive healthcare services. Following the fair, participants received health information from a speaker drawn from a community-based health and human service organization and selected for the likelihood of their personal appeal (in terms of racial and gender concordance with the audience) as well as for their expertise. Three different venues for events have been used to date, based on the likelihood of their attracting women who are the primary focus of the project (i.e., underserved and minority women): the community room of a high rise public housing building; the fellowship hall of a predominantly African American church, located adjacent to public housing; and the community room of a housing complex for low income workers.
2. The Project expanded the range of interventions it participated in to increase underserved women’s access to services related to reproductive health. In June, the Project partnered with the annual NYS DOH free HIV screening event at the public housing high rise as a follow-up to a Project-organized community event. In July, the Project supported the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY in a free STD/HIV screening event. That event, too, achieve full utilization of the available services.
3. The Project was invited by the Columbia County Dept. of Health to participate in a Community Health Planning Initiative. Participation in this Initiative advanced the Project’s goal of understanding the community health environment as a context for reproductive healthcare seeking.
4. The Community Advisory Board met quarterly to discuss past events and help to plan future events. As local community members, the Board members have been a valuable source of guidance about leveraging event participation around other community events and groups.
5. The Project established a field office in the public housing high rise building. The site demonstrated the Project’s commitment to women in this neighborhood of the focus community, which is somewhat stigmatized by other community members. The office has served as a base for the Project to conduct outreach in the neighborhood, including a weekly “open house” during which women in the neighborhood participated in drop-in discussions on women’s health issues.
6. At every community event, pre- and post-presentation questionnaires were administered to measure the impact of the event on participants’ health-related knowledge, and on their attitudes toward and intentions to obtain health services. In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted after each event with participants to obtain a fuller set of reactions to the event, and to continue to gather data about community members’ perceptions of barriers to obtaining healthcare services. Data analysis of interview transcripts using qualitative data analysis software, and quantitative data analysis of pre- and post-interview questionnaires was initiated.
1. The 7 health education events and resource fairs conducted so far (5 in Year 2 to date, and 2 in Year 1) and the data gathered from them have helped the Project’s research team identify effective strategies for planning and conducting community events, in terms of time, place, and format. The Project has established a model of bringing health and human service organizations out into the community to connect with community members. This model challenges the widely accepted more traditional model of expecting community members to seek out organizations for health services.
2. The Project has continued to build relationships with community organizations and has increasingly been sought out by community organizations for participation in community-based initiatives consonant with the Project’s aims of increasing women’s access to reproductive healthcare. The Project also continued to build relationships with the community members themselves, a somewhat more challenging process, particularly with women who do not have strong and readily identifiable institutional linkages, such as church membership.
1. Plan and conduct community event #8, informed by the data gathered at the first 7 events and the advice of the Community Advisory Board. Date: December. Place: Public housing community room.
2. Continue qualitative and quantitative data analysis efforts currently underway and initiate clinical attendance data gathering and analysis.
3. Continue to conduct community health education events every other month.
4. Continue to work on small group discussions on women’s health concerns out of the Project field office. The ultimate goal is to establish a Bliss Towers Women’s Council (as part of an effort to develop women’s groups throughout the community who could serve as community organizers to continue the Women’s Health Project activities post-grant).
5. Continue to partner with agencies such as the NYS DOH and the AIDS Council to bring services related to sexual health to underserved women in the focus community. Modification to the IRB protocol under which the Project operates will be sought to include interviews with women in order to learn more about their decisions to obtain services and add to the Project’s research findings.
6. Obtain interim results for qualitative (interview data and field observations) and quantitative (pre- and post-event questionnaire) data analysis, for publication.
Golden AG. A Reproductive Healthcare Organization’s Challenges in Serving the Underserved in a Small-Town Setting: An Ecological Analysis. Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, San Francisco, CA, November 2010.
Golden AG. A Reproductive Healthcare Organization’s Challenges in Serving the Underserved in a Small-Town Setting: An Ecological Analysis. Journal of Health Communication, submitted for publication, 2010.
F. PROJECT-GENERATED RESOURCES