Our objective was to identify the benefits and barriers associated with participation in food programs. We did a content analysis of focus groups with parents (n=21), teachers (n=10), project staff (n=21), and children (n=17) in three low-income Ontario communities. The key benefits identified by the three adult groups were hunger alleviation and social contact opportunities for both parents and children. Parents also benefited from volunteering with and/or participating in food programs because neighbourhood support networks developed. Teachers reported that children who attended breakfast programs became more attentive in school. The food programs also provided an opportunity for nutrition education. Offering food as part of all community programs (not just those designed to increase food availability) encouraged participation and increased attendance. Children thought that attending food programs kept them healthy, and helped them work harder in school. Parents' pride was the main barrier to participation in programs; however, parents who were actively involved in program delivery did not feel stigmatized accepting food. To encourage participation, nutrition professionals should collaborate with local residents to develop and implement community-based food programs.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Canadian women. Recent projections suggest that the number of cardiovascular-related deaths among women will continue to increase for at least another decade (Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2003). Nurses are in pivotal roles to facilitate the development of strategies to promote cardiovascular health and prevent CVD in this population. These strategies must move beyond the current focus on the individual, to encompass the bigger picture of population health promotion. This paper revisits the current state of knowledge of the population-based determinants of cardiovascular health in women, incorporates a Canadian perspective by including relevant epidemiological data, and recommends strategies that extend beyond the individual to the broader community, policy, health services and research domains.
Circles of Support & Accountability (COSA) started 15 years ago in Ontario, Canada, as an alternate means of social support to high-risk sexual offenders released at the end of their sentences without any community supervision. The pilot project in South-Central Ontario has since assisted almost 200 offenders. Projects based on this model are now in place in the United Kingdom, several jurisdictions in the United States, and throughout Canada. Initial research into the efficacy of the COSA pilot project showed that participation reduced sexual recidivism by 70% or more in comparison with both matched controls and actuarial norms. The current study sought to replicate these findings using an independent Canadian national sample. A total of 44 high-risk sexual offenders, released at sentence completion and involved in COSA across Canada, were matched to a group of 44 similar offenders not involved in COSA. The average follow-up time was 35 months. Recidivism was defined as having a charge or conviction for a new offense. Results show that offenders in COSA had an 83% reduction in sexual recidivism, a 73% reduction in all types of violent recidivism, and an overall reduction of 71% in all types of recidivism in comparison to the matched offenders. These findings suggest that participation in COSA is not site-specific and provide further evidence for the position that trained and guided community volunteers can and do assist in markedly improving offenders' chances for successful reintegration.
In this paper, we explore 3 diverse populations: street kids, political prisoners, and caregivers of people with HIV/AIDS. From these explorations, we consider the concepts of empowerment, resilience, and community-building. By interweaving these 3 key concepts, we develop a cyclical wellness model which can be applied equally to individuals and communities. This model highlights the strengths of individuals and communities and will, we believe, provide a critical element of hope to societies within our increasingly global economy.
In order to achieve true community participation in mental health care, a redistribution of decision-making power is needed. Currently, this power is almost exclusively in the hands of psychiatric institutions and the state. Community participation would require greater representation from community organizations. This paper describes the history of the alternative resources movement in Quebec. This movement has challenged the health care system and promoted innovative therapeutic approaches. In this process, community organizations have been faced with the difficult task of gaining more power while maintaining strong links with the communities they serve.
Community resiliency is a theoretical framework useful for describing the process used by communities to address adversity. A mixed-method 2-year case study was conducted to gather information about community resiliency in 2 rural communities. This article focuses on the themes generated from qualitative interviews with 55 members of these communities. The participants viewed community as a place of interdependence and interaction. The majority saw community resiliency as the ability to address challenges. Characteristics included physical and social infrastructure, population characteristics, conceptual characteristics, and problem-solving processes. Barriers included negative individual attitudes and lack of infrastructure in rural communities. Nurses could play a key role in enhancing the resiliency of rural communities by developing and implementing programs based on the Community Resiliency Model, which was supported in this study.
This study informs on the wishes and needs of elderly people themselves regarding services for the elderly. The data for the study were gathered using a consumer panel method. Elderly people desire assistance in heavy cleaning chores, in outdoor activities and in carrying out their personal business. Elderly people felt that there should be more recreational services available. Elderly people link aging with feelings of insecurity and loneliness. Becoming a service user for the first time is felt to be a very difficult step to take, and so this decision is postponed as long as possible. The elderly people desire a service for assessing their individual service needs in an organized, expert and objective fashion. The study indicates that elderly people value the human contact gained through service provision. The consumer panel method for collecting data was successful.
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) has long been characterized as Canada's skid row within public narratives that raise concerns about communicable diseases, open drug use, survival sex work, and homelessness. This stigmatizing gaze has bolstered a deficit-oriented philosophy that emphasizes measures to mitigate these threats, ostensibly by erasing the moral and environmental depravity from the landscape. However, such measures threaten to further marginalize DTES residents by perpetuating public sentiments of fear and disgust toward the inner city. In this paper, we challenge this orientation by reporting the results of a research process in which DTES residents chronicled their impressions of the neighbourhood. Our findings reveal a paradoxical therapeutic response to environmental injustice in the inner city, one that enables society's most marginalized people to find support, solidarity, and acceptance in their everyday struggles to survive, even thrive, amidst the structural and physical violence of the urban margins.
The aim of this study was to investigate ethnic differences in different aspects of social participation in Malmö, Sweden. The public health survey in Malmö 1994 is a cross-sectional study. A total of 5600 randomly chosen individuals aged 20-80 years were asked to complete a postal questionnaire. The participation rate was 71%. The population was divided into categories born in Sweden, Denmark/Norway, other Western countries, former Yugoslavia, Poland, Arabic speaking countries and all other countries. The age-adjusted and multivariate analyses were performed using a logistic regression model in order to investigate the importance of possible confounders (age, education, economic stress and unemployment) on the differences by country of origin in different aspects of social participation. Men and women born in Arabic speaking countries and other countries (Iran, Turkey, Vietnam, Chile and subsaharan Africa) participate to a significantly lower extent in a variety of civic and social activities when compared to the reference population born in Sweden. The differences in participation in these groups compared to the group born in Sweden are observed both for social participation items at the core of the definition of social capital and cultural and other activities unrelated to social capital. This pattern is particularly pronounced for women born in Arabic speaking countries. These women even sharply differ from the participation rates of men born in Arabic speaking countries. The ethnic differences in most cases do not seem to be explained satisfactorily by education, economic stress or possibly unemployment.
To help address physician shortages in the underserved community of Prince George, Canada, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and various partners created the Northern Medical Program (NMP), a regional distributed site of UBC's medical doctor undergraduate program. Early research on the impacts of the NMP revealed a high degree of social connectedness. The objective of the present study was to explore the role of social capital in supporting the regional training site and the benefits accrued to a broad range of stakeholders and network partners.
In this qualitative study, 23 semi-structured interviews were conducted with community leaders in 2007. A descriptive content analysis based on analytic induction technique was employed. Carpiano's Bourdieu-based framework of 'neighbourhood' social capital was adapted to empirically describe how social capital was produced and mobilized within and among networks during the planning and implementation of the NMP.
Results from this study reveal that the operation of social capital and the related concept of social cohesion are multifaceted, and that benefits extend in many directions, resulting in somewhat unanticipated benefits for other key stakeholders and network partners of this medical education program. Participants described four aspects of social capital: (i) social cohesion; (ii) social capital resources; (iii) access to social capital; and (iv) outcomes of social capital.
The findings of this study suggest that the partnerships and networks formed in the NMP planning and implementation phases were the foundation for social capital mobilization. The use of Carpiano's spatially-bounded model of social capital was useful in this context because it permitted the characterization of relations and networks of a tight-knit community body. The students, faculty and administrators of the NMP have benefitted greatly from access to the social capital mobilized to make the NMP operational. Taking account of the dynamic and multifaceted operation of social capital helps one move beyond a view of geographic communities as simply containers or sinks of capital investment, and to appreciate the degree to which they may act as a platform for productive network formation and expansion.