Background: Understanding the social determinants underlying health disparities benefits from a mixed-methods, participatory research approach.

Objectives: Photovoice was used in a research project seeking to identify and validate existing data and models used to address socio-spatial determinants of health in at-risk neighborhoods.

Methods: High-risk neighborhoods were identified using geospatial models of pre-identified social determinants of health. Students living within these neighborhoods were trained in Photovoice, and asked to take pictures of elements that influence their neighborhood’s health and to create narratives explaining the photographs.

Results: Students took 300 photographs showing elements that they perceived affected community health. Negative factors included poor pedestrian access, inadequate property maintenance, pollution, and evidence of gangs, criminal activity, and vagrancy. Positive features included public service infrastructure and outdoor recreation. Photovoice data confirmed and contextualized the geospatial models while building community awareness and capacity.

Conclusions: Photovoice can be a useful research tool for building community capacity and validating quantitative data describing social determinants of health.


Additional Information

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pp. 197-205
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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