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ID 18734
  Title National Public Health Week: one chiropractic college’s community intervention to promote healthy aging [platform presentation; the Association of Chiropractic Colleges' Thirteenth Annual Conference, 2006]
Journal J Chiropr Educ. 2006 Spring;20(1):25-26
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Meeting Abstract
Abstract/Notes INTRODUCTION: The American Public Health Association (APHA) sponsors the national observance of National Public Health Week (NPHW) each April. In 2005, the NPHW theme was Healthy Aging, and educational institutions, public health workers, health professionals and health advocates were encouraged to sponsor, promote, and implement events focusing on health strategies for aging Americans. This NPHW project was designed at one chiropractic college to empower and educate the community’s aging population by improving healthcare collaboration and providing relevant information regarding health, chiropractic, and quality of life issues in aging.

OBJECTIVE: To present the steps taken to successfully plan and implement this project, details about the programs offered during the NPHW events, and results of this project in the community.

METHODS: In April, 2005, our chiropractic college co-sponsored a series of community-based events in observance of NPHW. This activity required financial support from the institution’s administration and faculty and staff resources to design and implement NPHW events. The authors championed this effort, and organized a series of community-based educational programs in collaboration with numerous community partners, including a local visiting nurses association, a local radiology group, aging services organizations, health and legal professionals and several age-related community businesses. NPHW partners were also surveyed as to their satisfaction regarding the collaboration and the events themselves.

RESULTS:Topics addressed in the NPHW educational sessions included alternative healing, healthy eating, exercise and aging, health promotion and prevention, legal issues (such as durable power of attorney and living wills), financial fitness (retirement planning), oral health and aging, and adult day care. In addition to the educational components of NPHW events, complimentary health screenings were offered through the local hospital and nursing associations, the chiropractic college, a radiology group and a mental health center. Additionally, a mini computer course was offered to assist elderly citizens in identifying evidence-based resources through the internet.

Approximately 200 persons attended the NPHW programs. Subsequent to the events, a write up about this chiropractic-sponsored public health educational program was featured on the NPHW website, and in the Nation’s Health Newspaper with a readership of over 60,000. These articles and events showed chiropractic in a favorable light, taking the lead in the public health effort in this community based program. Responses to the participant and partner surveys will be summarized in this presentation.

DISCUSSION: No large scale, community based NPHW events have been previously implemented by chiropractic colleges. This project offered an opportunity for our chiropractic college to experience a community partnership with a local hospital for the first time and it forged the establishment of numerous community partnerships that have led to additional opportunities for the enrichment of the citizens of the Quad City Area. It also provided an opportunity for our students to take part in a major community event and to learn about the health and wellness of an ever-growing aging population.

While institutional resources can be a barrier to implementing such community based programs, by identifying willing community partners, the costs and staffing burden can be reduced for the sponsoring chiropractic college. In this case, twenty-six organizations participated, offering time, expertise, staffing, financial resources, speakers, educational materials, and give-aways. Additionally, relevant governmental health organizations offered large quantities of free materials to provide depth and breadth to the educational component of these community based events. This observance was a unique opportunity for healthcare partnership in the local community. It benefited not only the aging in the community, but also strengthened relationships between organizations serving the needs of the aging population. It is hoped that in future years, additional chiropractic colleges will sponsor NPHW events in their communities.

This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

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