Using photovoice as a tool for community engagement to assess the environment and health disparities and inform interventions
Methods: A convenience sample of 16 adults (81% female) in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, a predominantly minority, underserved area with disparate health outcomes, was recruited and participated in a three-part implementation of photovoice. Participants completed a descriptive survey, received instructions, and took photos over specified period; selected and provided written descriptions for up to 10 photos; and engaged in a discussion after photo selection. Descriptive statistics were calculated for survey data. Photos and descriptions were reviewed using an iterative process involving participants, community leaders, and research team members.
Results: Photos depicted positive and negative implications of the environment and health across seven emergent themes: recreation and leisure; food access; hazards and pollution; health, human, and social services; economic issues; beautification; and accommodation and accessibility. Positive photos (e.g., fresh fruits and vegetables, community gardens) and negative photos (e.g., standing water, abandoned houses) demonstrated a high level of interest among community members in considering how the environment influences health and contributes to health disparities. Evaluation of photos resulted in preparation of an action plan to guide future advocacy to support positive elements of the environment and address negative ones.
Conclusions: Photovoice was successful in engaging participants in a thoughtful, strategic process of considering how the environment influences health and connects to health disparities. Participants were able to make connections that underscored the importance of environmental justice work in underserved communities. The next steps will include enactment of an action plan to sustain engagement and stimulate positive change to the environment to improve health in Orangeburg County.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe photovoice as a method of community engagement in environmental justice efforts in underserved communities; Discuss the role of formative, community-engaging research in developing action plans to address environmental determinants connected to health disparities; and Explain the advantages of community-engaged formative approaches leading to intervention development.
Keyword(s): Environmental Justice, Cancer
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a social and behavioral scientist who has expertise in community-engaged research approaches, qualitative research methodology, and addressing cancer disparities. I also have substantial intervention development, implementation, and evaluation experience. I have been PI, co-PI, co-I, and project leader of several federally funded research grants and have publications in relevant topic areas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.