Urban Health

Urban Health Community Based Research

Our residency program clinic serves the community of Overtown, once the commercial, professional and cultural center for Miami’s Black community during segregation. Today it is a distressed community facing serious socioeconomic and health disparities. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends participatory research to address the health problems in distressed communities. This type of research engages community groups to make use of community knowledge; connect community members directly with the research; and provide immediate benefits to the community.

Rapid Assessment Response and Evaluation (RARE)

A community based participatory study of health disparities in our community.

Our pilot study, the Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center Community Rapid Assessment Response and Evaluation used a novel adaptation of a Community-Based Participatory Research program developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The pilot study examined health disparities and identified community and health system context, risk factors, and assets.

We presented our findings to members of the community and to leaders in the health system and in government. Our findings highlighted the importance of the social determinants of health, health system design, and access to care. We found health disparities to be rooted in inequities in the social determinants of health and exacerbated by health-system access barriers and inefficiencies. Link to published paper.

The Historic Overtown Public health Empowerment (H.O.P.E.) Collaborative

This is the next community based step following our rapid assessment. We are developing a program of asset based community development and community based participatory research to improve the social determinants of health.

We identified Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) plans to place highway ramps adjacent to the Booker T. Washington High School. We worked with members of the community to defeat the proposal. The next phase of our community based work is being developed. We aim to develop (a) community assets, (b) civic engagement, © a program of community-based participatory research, and (d) public health advocacy. We are seeking funding to adapt the mixed-method research model of our pilot study and apply it to specific health-impacting systems such as education, employment, housing, and the environment that are identified as most important by members of the community. We plan to model our research agenda on the Healthy Cities Program, which “engages local governments in health development through a process of political commitment, institutional change, capacity building, partnership-based planning and innovative projects.”

Overtown Cookbook

This element of the Historic Overtown Public health Empowerment (H.O.P.E) Collaborative aims to use participatory methods to tie evidence-based nutritional concepts to the strong cultural traditions of the Overtown community and its ties to the broader African American and Bahamian communities in South Florida.

We are in partnership with members of the community, including students, teachers, and alumni of the Booker T. Washington High School, to create a cookbook of healthy African American and Caribbean dishes. This project has been highlighted in stories in the Miami Herald and in the Florida Family Physician.

Mental Healthcare Improvement Project: Reducing Mental Healthcare Disparities in Miami-DadeCounty

The need for this project was revealed in our RARE study. This project aims to improve primary care of mental illness through an interdisciplinary, collaborative, chronic care model. We are using multi-method research to implement and evaluate the project.

Mental Health problems, particularly depression, are very common in primary care. Yet, these are often undiagnosed, and access to mental health care services is often difficult. With the help of a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida, and the United Health Foundation, we are implementing a collaborative model of depression care at our Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center in Overtown. This project looks at depression as a chronic disease and provides primary care physicians and patients the tools they need to better manage the disease, with the help of mental health professionals and depression care managers.