This planning grant proposes to use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to conduct a needs assessment to plan an effective, comprehensive intervention to address the health concerns centered around obesity in the affected community of Petersburg, Virginia. While Petersburg is a community that is vastly underserved and economically distressed, it is also a community with assets that can potentially be mobilized to remediate its health disparities. A key asset is the collective recognition among the City's leadership and the many neighborhood, civic, business and community organizations of the imperative to address poor health outcomes. We propose a multipronged, mixed methods approach to address the incredibly poor health outcomes by exploring the epidemic of obesity. The Petersburg Wellness Consortium will consist of the Community Health Leadership Council (CHLC) and Wellness Ambassadors (WAs). WAs are lay persons, active community residents, men and women who are committed to improving health outcomes in their community. The methods to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment include asset mapping, focus groups, and house chats that will culminate with a large town hall meeting (N=300) with a theater arts component to disseminate the data and reach consensus on the intervention. The major research questions that will drive the needs assessment are: 1) identifying the strengths and resources that is critical for addressing obesity; 2) social-cultural perceptions of obesity; and 3 identifying interventions that are family based, community wide and that can be supported City wide to increase physical fitness and improve nutritional choices.
Specific aims i nclude establishing and evaluating the effectiveness of the Petersburg Wellness Consortium to address obesity; conducting a needs assessment informed by community input from multiple sources, and third, developing and implementing a pilot intervention that will address individual, family, community, and societal factors to galvanize the community to increase physical activity and improve nutritional choices and options that will reduce obesity.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is major health disparity concern nationally as well as in the City of Petersburg. The establishment of the Petersburg Wellness Consortium, an academic-community partnership to address obesity as a springboard to many other serious health complications has strong potential to reduce health disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN (07))
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Wasserman, Joan
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Virginia Commonwealth University
Other Health Professions
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Mosavel, Maghboeba; Ferrell, Dwala; LaRose, Jessica Gokee (2016) House Chats as a Grassroots Engagement Methodology in Community-Based Participatory Research: The WE Project, Petersburg. Prog Community Health Partnersh 10:391-400