Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Initiating health and nutrition programs in rural Oregon using community based participatory research Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this project was to explore health and nutrition concerns and priorities of parents and caregivers of children enrolled in Kids and Company (KidCo) Head Start using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The project examined the feasibility of conducting CBPR with Head Start in the relatively short timeframe of one school year and identified action steps to address the community’s concerns. The first phase of this project used key informant interviews and participant observation to build relationships with Head Start administrators, staff, parents and caregivers. From these initial relationship-building activities, two Head Start centers chose to participate. A series of meetings were held with the two groups to identify community resources and concerns related to health and nutrition. Through a process of participatory issue selection, the groups selected a topic of concern and developed actions to address the issue. The results of this project illustrate that CBPR is a feasible approach to identifying and addressing health and nutrition concerns with Head Start parents and caregivers. The methods used here adhered to CBPR principles and involved community members in all phases of the project. Both groups identified issues of importance and developed action steps to address their concerns. The project also resulted in an innovative approach to working with the Oregon State University Institutional Review Board to obtain approval for an evolving CBPR process. The timeframe presented challenges, however, and it was not possible to conduct the project in one school year because of the time required to build relationships and identify key members of the community. Additional challenges included recruiting and retaining parents and caregivers, conflicting research interests, and organizational capacity. The actions that resulted from this project included development and implementation of a nutrition education program to augment existing Head Start nutrition education efforts, a partnership between Head Start and Oregon State University Extension, and a proposal to examine food security and develop a communication network between community members and local health departments.
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