Community-Informed Health Promotion to Improve Health Behaviors in Honduras.
BACKGROUND: Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America. The already high burden of disease is disproportionately worse among individuals with less education and limited access to health care. Community engagement is needed to bridge the gap in health care resources with the need for health promotion and education. Culturally relevant health promotion activities can foster transcultural partnerships. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to partner nursing students with village leaders to assess a community's health needs and implement health promotion activities in Honduras. DESIGN: Participatory action research was used in the study. METHOD: U.S. nursing students ( n = 4) partnered with a nonprofit organization and community partners in Villa Soleada to interview mothers in Villa Soleada, a Honduran village of 44 families, and implement health promotion activities targeted to the health priorities of their families. RESULTS: Structured interviews with 24 mothers identified gastrointestinal issues, health care access and quality, and malaria as the top three priorities. Ninety-two percent of respondents were interested in nurse-led health promotion. Activities engaged new community partners. DISCUSSION: This partnership and learning model was well received and sustainable. The U.S. nurses involved in the partnership gained exposure to Honduran health issues and led locally tailored health promotions in Villa Soleada. The community's response to health promotion were positive and future activities were planned. IMPLICATIONS: Nursing student's immersion experiences to support population-based health activities in low-resource settings are a replicable model that can help build healthier communities with a sustainable local infrastructure. Transcultural nursing experiences enhance students' perspectives, increase personal and professional development, strengthen nursing students' critical thinking skills, and for some students, confirm their desire to practice in an international arena.
Sullivan, BJ; Bettger, JP
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