Fellow Raisa Koltun's Community-Academic Partnership Grant Funded

Second-year fellow Raisa Koltun has helped her community placement site, CORE/El Centro, receive a Wisconsin Partnership Program grant. The project, "Public Will Building to Reduce Obesity in the Latino Community of Milwaukee" focuses on the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health, specifically obesity. 

Read her executive summary:
Proyecto Salud is a grassroots collaborative project of two agencies, CORE/El Centro and Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic, located on the south side of Milwaukee. Proyecto Salud works with a largely Spanish-speaking, Latino immigrant population. Obesity is a nationwide epidemic, but has a much higher prevalence in the Latino community. This accounts for large disparities in health outcomes, including heart disease and diabetes. In this community, there are many programs and interventions available to fight the epidemic, however a vast majority of them focus on altering individual behaviors related to diet and exercise. Although this is a critical aspect of the solution, it does not take into consideration the many levels of influence on health behaviors – especially socioeconomic and environmental factors.

The goal of the proposed projecct is to increase awareness and build public will of Latino community members to address socioeconomicc and environmental determinants of obesity. This work will build on previous research conducted within this community regarding food and the community nutrition environment, by strengthening the evidence-base through the inclusion of community members’ experiences.

The main activities of this project are:
1    Create new partnerships be etween academic colleagues, Proyecto Salud and community members.
2    Hold guided group discussions, grounded in the public will building framework, with community members around the impact of socioeconomic and environmental determinants of obesity.
3    Bring together a Community Action Board who will analyze the data from the group discussions.
4    From the analyzed data, CAB will create a community-driven, evidence-based action plan.

We are requesting $50,000 to carry out this 15-month project beginning in June 2011, which will result in the following outcomes:
1    Strong community-academic partnership and increased CAB cohesion
2    Increased understanding of f community experiences regarding social and environmental determinants of obesity.
3    Increased CAB cohesion.
4. Compiled action plan The World Health Organization states: “The increased incorporation of community engagement and social participation in policy processes helps to ensure fair decision-making on health equity issues.” This speaks to the need for community-led advocacy efforts and is the basis for this project. Furthermore, most efforts in the community to fight obesity center around individual behavior change. A large body of evidence points to the fact that socioeconomic and environmental factors also play a significant role in health outcomes. This project develops the base of support for community-led advocacy efforts around socioeconoomic and environmental factors that contribute to obesity rates in the Latino community of Milwaukee. This project, in the long-term, aims to reduce health disparities by building strong community partnerships. This project supports the following WPP guiding principles: prevention, collaboration, responsiveness and sustainability. Furthermore, we will contribute to the State Health Plan, Healthiest Wisconsin 2020, by advancing the following three focus areas: Adequate, appropriate, and safe food and nutrition; Chronic disease prevention and management; and Collaborative partnerships for community health improvement.