- Podcast Interview Transcript
In each volume of Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, the editors select one article for our Beyond the Manuscript podcast interview with the authors. Beyond the Manuscript provides authors with the opportunity to tell listeners what they would want to know about the project beyond what went into the final manuscript. Beyond the Manuscript podcasts are available for download on the journal's website (www.press.jhu.edu/journals/ progress_in_community_health_partnerships/multimedia.html). This Beyond the Manuscript podcast is with James Sanders of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Mary Jo Baisch of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Institute for Urban Health Partnerships authors of "Community-based Participatory Action: Impact on a Neighborhood Level Community Health Improvement Process. Associate Editor Patricia Tracey conducted the interview. The following is an edited transcript of the Beyond the Manuscript podcast.
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Pat Tracey: I'm going to give a brief description of your manuscript, Community-Based Participatory Action: Impact on a Neighborhood-Level Community Health Improvement Process. The Riverview Health Initiative is a community-based participatory action (CPBA)-driven coalition that used several action models to create a community health improvement process, which incorporated resident input in developing a health assessment survey to augment epidemiologic data. The survey that was created allowed neighborhood residents to describe their health status, behaviors, and health care utilization. It also included perceptions about neighborhood support and safety, mental and emotional health, and other issues not usually captured in invaluable epidemiologic data. The community health improvement process provided local data that helped practitioners better target scarce resources to specific health concerns of the community, linking the processes of CHP and CBPA allowed the Riverwest Health Initiative to be informed in an ongoing manner about the neighborhood's strengths and challenges.
Pat Tracey: You established the Coalition in 2003. Can you tell me what was happening in the Riverwest community that caused your partners to want to come together to form the Riverwest Health Initiative, and who were your partners?
Jim Sanders: In early spring of 2003, my health clinic physically opened its center in the Riverwest neighborhood, so by default I became a neighborhood member. And as any good community-minded physician, I promptly put on my overcoat and went out and started meeting my neighbors. Some of the first people I met were from the social service agencies and some of the folks from the local public schools, and we started talking about what our ideas of health are and what our ideas of a healthy community that we'd like to live and practice in. [End Page 17] Well, it became apparent very quickly that we all had the same ideas, even though I was using a stethoscope and they were using other means to achieve these ends. We thought pragmatically the best way is to join forces so that we wouldn't be at cross ends with each other, but rather, better for coming together. Thus, very quietly and almost innocently, this initiative is born. From the get-go, we designed it to be a disorganized, nonlinear model of association, where any private citizen or agency group can come together or join up at any time and drop off at any time. So there's no lead agency per se and no minor agency; we all have equal voices and we all bring our talents that we can share for the health of the community. Initially, because the neighborhood had such a great history of activism, there were a number of immediate partners who wanted to be part of this. As I said, we had a large local service agency, we had a couple of the public schools, we had a minority health organization, we had my local medical clinic, and we had a large health system that's in the area. We had the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee's School of Nursing, and we had private residents. We actually had the local newspaper represented too, and it's grown from there.
Pat Tracey: Were there any issues that the community was concerned about, that wanted to pull...