Collaboration through Coalition: A path to community building through healthcare.

Authors:

Edilin Lopez (Primary Author)

Organización Dominicana de Estudiantes de Medicina (ODEM)

[email protected]

Katherine Candelario (Secondary Author)

Organización Dominicana de Estudiantes de Medicina (ODEM)

[email protected]

Collaboration through Coalition: A path to community building through healthcare.

E. Lopez, K. Candelario

Medicine is an evergreen field that is in constant evolution. Research aids this progression, which allows the world to change according to the needs of its individuals. Studies based in communities allow for introspection, growth, and ultimately leads to wide-spread changes that often begin on smaller scales. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a collaborative approach to research various inquiries in which both researchers and community stakeholders engage as equal allies throughout the research process with a mutual goal of educating and improving relevant social change.1 

Communities are essential when referring to the health and the wellbeing of a country. As medical students, community interactions have allowed us to form opinions around the importance of primary health care. Amongst this alliance, steps can be taken to improve the overall conditions of a community while keeping in mind that preventable morbidities often begin within their own surroundings. With implementing the proper health education and interactions, community members can learn to uplift and improve their quality of life for themselves, through themselves.  

The increase in disparities between communities, especially those that are marginalized and of minority descent, is continuous.2 Through feasible, cost-effective changes, creating and improving sustainable health at a community level creates a long-term scenario for the slow abolition of morbidities that may be prevented and controlled on the primary level of the healthcare system. This ultimately allows other areas of the system to improve, such as tertiary-level facilities. 

 By collaborating with communities, medical students have the opportunity of understanding a community’s needs and the reality of their everyday life. Discussed in an article written by Gimpel et al., “significant improvements in mean knowledge were found when measuring strategies for taking a medical history, major branches of public health, mandatory reporting, the health care system safety net, principles of CBPR, levels of prevention, determining health literacy and patient communication strategies. (all p’s < 0.05)” 3 Modifiable diseases can be diverted and controlled, ultimately making overall health superior while community members achieve the proficiency of data collection and delivery, critical thinking and self-efficacy. CBPR merges branches of social science and medicine in one.4 This aids us in our quest to get real life perspectives on how diseases develop, spread and impact a community and furthermore a nation. We utilize this form of research to understand and distribute health assets accordingly, which is important because this allows the areas that need more help to acquire it.  

As medical students we can contribute to health in smaller ways that ultimately add up to big changes. Through interaction with the communities, we gain to learn how the health system flourishes and changes on a basic level while exchanging cultural differences that can unify us as a nation and create an understanding that will bring long lasting improvements in health.4 We highly recommend that all members of IFMSA develop relationships that bridge connections between communities and public health in order to address the root of both health and socioeconomic issues. 

References 

  1. Tremblay, M.-C., Martin, D. H., McComber, A. M., McGregor, A., & Macaulay, A. C. (2018). Understanding community-based participatory research through a social movement framework: A case study of the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 487. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5412-y
  2. Acosta, D. (2013). Using a Community-Based Participatory (CBP) Approach to Teaching Medical Students About Minority Health and Health Disparities: The CBP Curriculum Development Tool. Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health, 72(8 Suppl 3), 11.
  3. Gimpel, N., Kindratt, T., Dawson, A., & Pagels, P. (2018). Community action research track: Community-based participatory research and service-learning experiences for medical students. Perspectives on Medical Education, 7(2), 139–143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40037-017-0397-2
  4. Hacker, K. (2013). Community-Based Participatory Research. SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452244181