The specific aims of this research project are to improve health outcomes and decrease health disparities in the predominantly Latino/African American neighborhood of Washington Heights, located in Northern Manhattan. We propose to do this by building upon existing relationships among community organizations, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University and by planning Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) that will utilize feedback from active community leaders so that we may jointly identify the most meaningful healthcare research priorities for the population of Washington Heights. This will be the beginning of a long-term CBPR agenda that includes assessing and measuring the outcome of current and future interventions that will be developed with active community participation. Living with the problems of poor healthcare outcomes, the community itself has earlier attempted to address the issues by forming strong collaborative partnerships among community organizations and with the neighboring Hospital and University. Through one such collaboration, the one upon which we wish to build this project, a coalition is currently changing the Washington Heights community in profound ways. This working partnership, known as the Health Academy Partnership Advisory Board, has already opened a health-oriented middle and high school called the Community Health Academy of the Heights, established in close proximity to New York Presbyterian. We propose to work with that Partnership Advisory Board to build the trusting relationships, organizational structures, and operational norms required to develop and sustain Community Based Participatory Research partnerships. At the end of the three year project, the partnership will have the capability, capacity and unity to successfully apply for research funding.
Aim 1 : Improve health literacy and information dissemination in Washington Heights by establishing a CBPR Partnership Advisory Board that will provide a structure for conducting CBPR projects that will improve health literacy and information dissemination.
Aim 2 : Develop an MOU between the New York Presbyterian Hospital (applicant organization), Columbia University, the Community League of the Heights, and the Community Health Academy of the Heights for the purpose of carrying out a CBPR project on health literacy and information dissemination.
Aim 3 : Provide a forum for community outreach by conducting at least 5 stakeholder focus groups and three open community forums that will identify the community's interest in addressing disparities in health and that will educate the community about health disparity conditions, health resources and the role of the CPBR Partnership in helping to remediate such disparities.
Aim 4 : In addition, we aim to design and create funding proposals for such research and for further interventions based on CBPR analyses and outcomes assessments. Our hypothesis is that a strong pre-existing partnership of invested community organizations aligned with a research team based at the institutions surrounding the catchment area, and the use of Community Based Participatory Research can coalesce as an effective tool for change - both locally and, by extension, nationally.
Our hypothesis is that a strong pre-existing partnership of invested community organizations aligned with a research team based at the institutions surrounding the catchment area, and the use of Community Based Participatory Research can coalesce as an effective tool for change - both locally and, by extension, nationally.