The UAID Community Project (CP) is an effort made by each Chapter to achieve a meaningful, positive impact on health outcomes in their local community on a longitudinal time scale. These projects typically span one academic year and focus on a health inequity identified within the community. Through this project, Chapter members gain experience in utilizing mixed research methods, assessing health issues on the local level, and in planning, implementing and evaluating long-term projects. Chapter members also have an opportunity to practice public health principles.
The CP takes place in eight steps:
Step 1: Training and Preparation
Step 2: Selecting the Community
Step 3: Forging Community Partnership
Step 4: Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)
Step 5: Project Proposal Development
Step 6: Project Implementation and Data Collection
Step 7: Project Evaluation
Step 8: Reporting Findings
Current UAID projects include education, environmental health, homelessness, healthcare accessibility, and nutrition:
UAID at University of Maryland:
We will be working in Prince George’s County in Maryland, neighbors the University of Maryland campus. As a small chapter, we came to the conclusion that a small number of people could have the largest impact on our community through a youth education program. According to the PG county’s health resources, 10% of public high school youth currently smoke cigarettes, 16% of youth age 12-19 are obese, and only 30% of people over age 25 have obtained a bachelor’s degree or above. In an attempt to combat these problems, we will be creating interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) lesson plans to teach to kids. We hope that these activities will simultaneously teach the kids about good health habits and get them excited about STEM fields, ultimately making them more interested in pursuing advanced degrees.
UAID at University of California San Diego:
San Diego contains the nation’s third largest homeless population. Unfortunately, homelessness often leads to numerous health inequities, as the majority of homeless persons cannot afford to maintain their personal health and hygiene. In an effort to combat the health inequities faced by the homeless population, UAID’s UC San Diego chapter's community project will focus on improving health and hygiene amongst the homeless population in downtown San Diego. Our goal is to create sanitation packages containing basic hygenic necessities and toiletries (toothbrush, hand sanitizer, etc.) in order to help homeless persons establish cleaner and healthier lifestyles. Overall, we hope that our chapter's contribution helps eliminate the health inequities faced by the homeless community, as well as helps empower other members of the community to fight against other health inequities.
UAID at College of William and Mary:
The William and Mary UAID chapter will be working with low-income communities in Williamsburg to improve nutrition through more educated and conscientious use of food stamps and Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program credit. We will be distributing monthly flyers to families serviced by the local Campus Kitchens chapter explaining how food stamps and SNAP can be used to make healthy choices that are also cost-effective.
UAID at New York University:
Here at NYU, in the center of New York City, students are surrounded by different people that come from different types communities everyday. Walking to class or taking the subway makes us notice the various kinds of individuals that may live right around the corner. The community that NYU UAID has chosen to focus on this semester are the 'disconnected youth' at The Door - only a couple blocks away from NYU's Washington Square campus. At The Door, they empower young people with not a lot of opportunities to reach their potential. The issue we are choosing to focus on is nutritional education. Through multiple workshops throughout the semester, we plan to teach young adults about how to eat healthy, budget meals, read nutrition labels, and how to exercise efficiently.
UAID at University of Miami:
The community of Miami-Dade County has plenty of public health concerns, many of which include: mental health distress, nutritional and exercise problems, high HIV/AIDS rates, a lack of healthcare programs for the poor, vector-borne infectious diseases and environmental health concerns. The local community has addresses all of these issues, but they have covered some more than others. After assessing which issues where both prevalent and lacked manpower/solutions, we, the University of Miami UAID Chapter, decided that rising sea water levels came out as the biggest public health concern which needed tending to. The rise in sea water levels in the Miami-Dade community has already led to property loss, flooding and could lead to contamination of the potable water supply. In response to these damages from the rising sea levels, we have decided to implement an educational program in the Miami-Dade County area to teach middle school/high school students about the importance of maintaining a healthy environmental space to prevent public health concerns. During our program, we will address the issues leading to the rise in water levels and how they are connected to public health inequities in our area. After the program session, we will continue to work with students interested in starting their own project to stop/prevent a sea level rise in Miami-Dade County.
UAID at Columbia University:
When conducting our Community Health Needs Assessment, we found that while most residents have insurance coverage, many do not regularly go see a primary physician. According to the most recent Community Health Survey (2012) conducted in Harlem, 17% of residents do not have a regular health care provider. Regular primary care visits promote personal well-being, emphasize preventative care, and lower avoidable costs by eliminating unnecessary emergency room visits. This proposal aims to identify the main reasons behind the gap in access to a primary care physician and works to bridge that gap. This may include calling on insurance companies to ensure that people’s primary care physician are in their area if travel is an issue or better educating patrons on their insurance coverage. We will also conduct surveys to gauge the main barriers to primary care and residents perceptions of the necessity of primary care. Overall, this project could lead to reducing the amount of unnecessary emergency room visits and increased access to care.