Wednesday, July 11, 2007
This presentation is part of : Community and Home Health Intiatives
Mobilizing Community Assets to Reduce Disparities in Health
Veronica G. Parker, PhD and Barbara N. Logan, PhD, RN, FAAN. School of Nursing, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe the three levels of assets to be considered when utilizing the asset-mapping approach to determine community health and health-related resources.
Learning Objective #2: discuss the strengths and limitations of asset-mapping and geospatial analyses in determining community strengths and resources.

Racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care have persisted in the United States, despite major advances in medical technology and treatments and improvements in the country’s overall health status.  Demographic trends indicate that the number of racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States is increasing dramatically.  At the same time, members of these groups continue to suffer disproportionately from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality and diabetes.  The personal costs of these disparities are enormous in terms of mortality, morbidity and lost productivity.  The economic costs are in the billions of dollars.  The Department of Health and Human Services has made the elimination of health disparities a priority.  Major initiatives are being launched nationwide and worldwide to close the health disparities gap.  In order to do so effectively, it is important that the most medically underserved minority groups be appropriately identified.  These groups are often hard to identify, hard to reach, and forgotten, particularly when they reside in isolated “pockets” of poor rural communities surrounded by affluent larger suburban type of communities.  This presentation will describe asset-mapping and the use of geospatial analyses as methods that are effective in identifying “pocket” communities and their health and health-related resources.  Asset-mapping is a capacity-building effort that identifies the strengths of a community that can be preserved, enhanced, and mobilized to help community residents meet their own needs.  The approach focuses on strengths instead of deficits. Community residents are empowered to capitalize on their strengths and mobilize their resources in finding solutions to their own problems.   In so doing, they become actively engaged in improving their health outcomes and help to close the health disparities gap.