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Assessing Community Readiness for Change in the Nashville Hispanic Community Through Participatory Research


Background: “New-growth communities” with rapidly growing Hispanic populations often have little experience with addressing the needs of this population. “Community readiness for change” is the degree to which a community is prepared to take action on an issue.

Objectives: This study assessed the stage of community readiness for change in the area of Hispanic health in Nashville, using the community readiness model (CRM) and a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, through a partnership between an academic research center and a nonprofit, grassroots, Hispanic organization.

Methods: Qualitative and quantitative data were collected by trained community interviewers and the academic researcher using a semistructured questionnaire based on the CRM. The sample of key informants included (1) a purposive sample of 18 organizations, and (2) a convenience sample of 50 Hispanic community members.

Results: The organizations were at a higher stage (stage 5, preparation) than the Hispanic community members were (stage 4, preplanning), particularly in the dimensions of Leadership, Resources, and Knowledge of Efforts. The community members were also aware of fewer local efforts focused on Hispanic health than the organizations (average of 4.5 vs. 7.6).

Conclusions: Recommendations were made for stageappropriate, community-level interventions. The assessment results are being used by Nashville Latino Health Coalition (NLHC) to plan collaborative initiatives to address Hispanic health needs in Nashville. This study demonstrates the utility of the CRM as a model for assessing a community’s stage of readiness to take action, and the feasibility of applying it using a CBPR approach in a “new-growth” Hispanic community.

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