¡Hazlo bien! A participatory needs assessment and recommendations for health promotion in growing Latino communities

Jessica M Valenzuela, Tiffany McDowell, Lindsey Cencula, Lupe Hoyt, Monica J Mitchell
American Journal of Health Promotion: AJHP 2013, 27 (5): 339-46

PURPOSE: To investigate the health needs of a rapidly growing Latino community and understand priorities for developing culturally sensitive health promotion strategies.

APPROACH: A participatory research approach was selected to understand health challenges and opportunities for health engagement in the community.

SETTING: Norwood, Ohio, a small community in southwest Ohio.

PARTICIPANTS: Latino adults living, working, or accessing services in Norwood.

METHOD: Trained community researchers collected survey data from 198 participants at multiple community "points of contact" and door-to-door in more isolated neighborhoods. Survey data were aggregated using descriptive statistics. Two focus groups were conducted with 25 community members, transcribed, and analyzed using principles of thematic analysis. Participants' health concerns, health behaviors, and access to/experiences with health care were assessed.

RESULTS: Findings indicated significant health concerns, including overweight (43.2%) and obesity (28.6%), mental health challenges (anxiety 15.7%; depression 15.0%), and oral health concerns (23.0%). In addition, community members described barriers to accessing health care and strategies for preventing health problems and promoting positive health. Participants also discussed perceived discrimination and the need to address isolation within their community.

CONCLUSION: Methods and findings from the ¡Hazlo Bien! participatory needs assessment are likely to be useful to those designing health promotion programs in quickly growing Latino communities where there are limited health services and few existing social support networks.

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