Using Photovoice to Engage Minority Consumers in the Implementation of Health Interventions

Photovoice, a participatory action research method developed by Caroline C. Wang and Mary Ann Burris, empowers people with cameras to document their everyday lives and inform social action. Photovoice uses photographs taken by people in their communities and the stories behind the photographs to promote critical dialogue about important issues and to reach policy makers and decision makers who can influence positive social change. The New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence (CECC) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in partnership with two housing agencies – Pathways to Housing and Broadways Housing Communities – conducted the Health and Wellness Photovoice Project in Northern Manhattan to engage residents at these agencies in a dialogue about their physical health and generate community-based knowledge and strategies to inform the development and implementation of culturally and ecologically valid health interventions in housing agencies.

Results of this project are generating insights as to residents’ preferences for health interventions. For example, peer-based approaches were preferred over professional-led programs as peers were considered a credible source of support and inspiration. Residents also discussed how they wanted help in developing skills and motivation in order to engage in healthy eating habits and increase their physical activity. Moreover, residents stressed the important role that supportive relationships with friends, families, and providers play in their physical health and wellness.

Population of focus: Minority and underserved populations in New York city

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Date: 2011

Organization: New York State Psychiatric Institute, Pathways to Housing and Broadways Housing Communities