Key DFM Personnel

John Frey, MD – Principal Investigator
Suzanne Gaulocher, – Project Coordinator

The Community-Based Health Research Group

This working group is an interdisciplinary network of applied researchers, public health professionals and community people using participatory strategies designed to examine and address aspects of social and physical environments that contribute to health disparities. Monthly meetings increase awareness of health issues, identify and develop proposals for collaborative projects, and develop a framework for conducting applied community-based health research.

Speakers and topics have included: John McKnight – Northwestern University – Asset Mapping, Cancer Health Disparities Initiative, The School of Nursing’s Healthy Lifestyles Project, the UW Chancellor’s collaboration with the Park Street Partners, the South Madison Housing Stories and Experiences Project, Including Children in Research, Youth and Employment; Public Presentation by Boys & Girls Club youth – presenting the Youth Voice Project, Topic: GIS mapping and Diabetes by the Department of Family Medicine, Madison Police Department – Neighborhood Project, Marcia Caton Campbell – Johnson’s Park Health Coalition, Fit City Madison!, and Service Learning – Michael Hunt. Future meetings include Randy Stoecker, Lisa Bullard-Cawthorne with Safe Communities Coalition – Goodman Pool Maps, and the Villager Mall revitalization efforts.

Youth Participatory Photo Mapping for Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative

This project developed from the multidisciplinary meetings of researchers and clinicians using participatory strategies for addressing health disparities between and within communities. Effective neighborhood-level health promotion depends on having an understanding of how aspects of the local environment shape personal safety and physical activity as well as mental and physical health outcomes. The perspectives of children can be especially important for assessing community assets and barriers affecting health. The purpose of this project was to better understand a neighborhood through the eyes of young people living there. Researchers and youth have used participatory observations, walk-along interviews and geographic information systems technology (GIS) and photos to build up an integrated multi-level profile of community space. The local Anti-Drug Coalition and other community groups have partnered with UW researchers to undertake this project in the southern area of Madison, Wisconsin.

Approximately 100 youth aged 6-18 affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County are the primary participants in the project. They use a coordinated set of parcel-based maps, aerial photographs, youth photography and place narratives in conjunction with geo-referenced health and safety datasets to identify perceptual patterns and experiential themes. These results are being shared by the youth in presentations to their community neighbors, Wingra Clinic (local primary care providers), the City of Madison Police Department, the Madison/Dane public health department and other stakeholders. Insights that emerge from this study will be used to identify community assets and barriers impacting health and safety outcomes and to engage local stakeholders in dialogue.