Community-based interventions usually involve a number of different strategies and activities aimed at creating changes in the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills that influence health. One of the unique features of community approaches is that they typically include strategies to create change in individuals and families as well as efforts to change organizational and environmental factors and policies that influence behavior and health. These programs are designed to prevent community members from developing asthma, reduce exposure to environmental pollutants in the community, help community members manage asthma symptoms, and eliminate disparities in asthma among various community members.
Community-based interventions include strategies that are implemented in a variety of places including:
- neighborhood health care centers or clinics
- physician offices
- local public health agencies
- health insurance companies
- social service agencies
- community development agencies
- worksites (e.g., offices, factories)
- local businesses (e.g., retail tobacco outlets)
- advertising companies
- community centers
- retirement centers
- clubs (e.g., Boys & Girls Club)
- national associations (e.g., American Lung Association)
- local associations (e.g., economic, cultural, nurses)
- community health fairs
- community colleges
- research institutions
- public buildings and facilities
Previous work in community-based settings has found:
- Children spend many hours after school at community organizations (e.g., boys and girls clubs). Community-based settings provide an alternative to schools and allow for the tailoring of programs to each individual child. In these settings, children may work on goal setting and skills building to improve their asthma management.
- Community-based interventions can reach populations that may not be reached in other settings.
- Community and leisure time settings can provide support, motivation, and reinforcement for behavior change and skills learned in other settings.
- Summer camps are an ideal setting for asthma interventions given their friendly atmosphere that encourages shared feelings, problems, and ideas; assistance in helping the child achieve acceptance of asthma; opportunities for children to become autonomous and master their condition; and opportunities for interactions between parents, health care providers, and children.
- Day care centers have an abundance of children and can provide direct messages to parents regarding asthma management.
- It is important to establish legitimacy for asthma interventions in the community as a community project and not an experiment.
- It is important to promote asthma education messages in medically underserved communities that have a higher proportion of asthmatics.
- Community asthma care centers are a good location to recruit individuals with the most need.
- Education sessions can be incorporated into existing infrastructure for asthma education in a variety of settings in order to provide long-term support asthma self-management behaviors.
- Intervention strategies often include informational support (information about asthma management and environmental triggers), tangible support (skills and abilities people have to identify and address asthma symptoms early) and appraisal support (sense of acceptance and belonging as individuals cope with their asthma).
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