African-American Hbp an Effective Health Education Program Essay

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African-American HBP

An effective health education program must be culturally aware, sensitive to the history and specific needs of the community. Within the African-American community, there is an unfortunate history of mistrust with regards to the healthcare system and establishment. As Thomas & Quinn (1991) point out, "there remains a trail of distrust and suspicion" that hampers health education in Black communities (p. 1498). The root cause of the specific mistrust of healthcare system, policy, and practice can be traced to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Lingering effects of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study include a resistance to education and intervention related to HIV / AIDS among African-Americans. Therefore, health education related to heart disease and high blood pressure must be treated with sensitivity and awareness of this historical conflict between Black communities and healthcare, which is largely viewed as a white institution. The proposed health education program is for a neighborhood.

It is critical to focus on creating positive ties between healthcare workers and community leaders. Positive perceptions of healthcare as a social institution can come from developing trust. I would want to work with persons in the role of enabler and nurturer, to help activate the positive perceptions necessary to promote health-seeking behaviors among African-American men. "Positive experiences, trust in the clinician, and empathy improve patient motivation and satisfaction." (Chobanian, Bakris, Black…et al., 2003 p. 1206). Nurturers and enablers in the community include preachers and other religious figures, businesspersons and respected members of the community, and social leaders ranging from barbers to teachers.
As cultural bridges between the healthcare establishment and community members, the nurturers and enablers will help to reframe healthcare and shape positive attitudes and perceptions. This will in turn make health education easier because there will be much less resistance and mistrust of the information. We need to overcome the deep-rooted mistrust that causes conspiracy theories like those described by Thomas & Quinn (1991).

The health education program is built on principles of cultural empowerment. We want to reinforce ideas that Black individuals and communities can take control of their own health, and engage more readily with preventative medicine techniques and health-seeking behaviors. Likewise we want to help community residents overcome their resistance to change, which is based on fear and mistrust. While acknowledging the reality of past injustices, it is still possible to promote trust in the current and future healthcare leaders.

Activities and habits that are linked to positive health outcomes need to be discussed, outlined, and encouraged formally. For example, there may be a community center where residents are playing sports together regularly, dancing regularly, or otherwise getting exercise. These activities promote cultural empowerment and health at the same time. Eating together in extended family groups or at parties can also be a source of cultural empowerment, but….....

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