Partnering to understand: An investigation of health disparity in the communities surrounding a university health sciences center

Kenneth Chase Bailey, Beth Werner DeGrace, Sandra Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Oklahoma's health ranking is seventh to last in America. More specifically, the health in the four zip codes surrounding the Oklahoma University Health Science Center (OUHSC) in is among the lowest in the state. The primary purpose of this study was to understand, in collaboration with community members and partners, why health disparity persists in this area. The specific aims for this study included: uncovering trends and patterns related to health in the area surrounding the OUHSC and partnering with families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods to understand perspectives regarding persistence of health disparity. METHODS: The research used community-engaged research methods including historical document reviews, windshield tours, and community member and partner interviews. RESULTS: The five themes reflecting the triangulation of data were: "they don't care" (i.e., the university and community decision-makers), "sense of mistrust," "unconducive environment," "diminished sense of community," and "wrong side of the tracks." These results suggest feelings of ineffective communication, consistently overlooked racial tension, a lack of willingness to understand, and impoverished environments as primary contributors to the persistence of health disparity. The poor health in the communities surrounding the OUHSC cannot be remedied by the availability of allied health programs alone but require relationship building, listening, and mobilizing the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of allied health
Volume43
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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