Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Giving Voice to Alcohol & Substance Abuse Through Pictures

Thanks to our friends at the Partnership for a Healthier NYC, I had the opportunity to view a fantastic tool to help  immunities illustrate the problem of alcohol and substance abuse to others...called PhotoVoice.  First Developed in 1995 as a means for women living in rural China to communicate important health messages to policy makers,  the process puts cameras into the hands of community members and uses pictures and captions to document the social, political, and economic realities of our  neighborhoods.  It is an often visually stunning way to capture a problem and it's consequences that simple data cannot give.

Currently, Photo Voice projects are used globally as an effective strategy to involve young people into the conversation about what they face daily when dealing with drugs, alcohol, and other public health and safety concerns.  It has served as a catalyst to inform the about issues and gather feedback on ways to address the problem.

Projects can be both short and long term and incorporate other  community engagement events and media campaigns.   PhotoVoice is definitely a useful tool that can have a major impact on your neighborhood.   The PRC will have more information on starting a PhotoVoice project in your community soon...stay tuned!

Until next time,


P.S. - Never heard about the Partnership for a Healthier NYC?  Come to our Community Networking Seminar and learn more about their work.

Check out a few examples of PhotoVoice projects

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Scanning for the Problem

Scanning for the Problem

How Environmental Scans Can Lead to Neighborhood Action

I attended a wonderful training this week on incorporating effective media strategies into community outreach efforts.  It was conducted by David Jernigan, Director of the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) & Michael Sparks, Alcohol Policy Specialist and CADCA trainer.  They provided very useful information on ways to engage coalitions to immediate action through the use of environmental scans.  Scans are short surveys that can provide information about a range of topics including: local attitudes towards drinking, determining the number of alcohol billboards and their effects on youth and adults, and finding out where kids are obtaining alcohol and the most common places they are drinking them.  Scans are easy ways to get others involved; are great tools for engaging youth in your efforts, and provide relevant data in a short period of time.  Once obtained, this data can be used to help decide on specific activities and strategies that your coalition would like to take. 

EXAMPLE: Your coalition organized a community scan to determine adult attitudes towards drinking at school and community sponsored events such as the prom, sporting events, or social functions. 

You enlisted the assistance of the PTA, local coaches, and area supermarkets to set-up polling sites at various dates and times over a three week period.  The goal is to gather feedback from adults and parents from the community during special events and frequented retailers.

Once completed, your scan indicated that adults don't think drinking is a problem but don't want kids binge drinking (consuming 3-5 more drinks at one time). 

As a result, your group may develop a presentation on "The Dangers of Binge Drinking & What Parents Need to Know" and conduct it at the local PTA meetings for middle and high schools; local libraries; and community health fairs.   As part of your strategy, groups should be sure to contact local officials about the presentation; local and city news outlets such as   Neighborhood papers and civic bulletins.

Remember--one strategy is not enough, groups should develop multiple approaches that increase community awareness and works towards greater enforcement of formal and informal protocols and policy changes that can offer systemic supports that help make a long term change.

Here are some links to a few samples

Until next time,