Enacting a Framework for Healthy Community Development: Engagement and Outcomes for Student and Faculty Co-researchers

By Claire Budgen, Doris Callaghan, Linda Hatt, Donna L. M. Kurtz, Melissa Feddersen, Robyn Wiebe, Curt More, Casey Hamilton and Alexa Geddes.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2014 $US5.00

Healthy community development in cities, workplaces and educational settings has been the focus of considerable research, policy and practice activity. Healthy community development emphasizes changing health determinants. While the theory is appealing, engaging community members to translate theory into action is challenging. This paper outlines a framework for healthy community development which brings together cross-sector community members to change health determinants. Use of the VOICE framework in a long term project with a university campus is described. In the project, campus community members work as co-researchers to assess the health of the community, identify priority issues, mobilize existing resources, and create health-promoting change. Project achievements have included improvements in campus community health and increases in research and healthy community development capacity of all types of co-researchers. This paper focuses on the engagement of students and faculty as co-researchers and outcomes for each group from participation. Outcomes for non-academic co-researchers (other community members) are briefly described. Related literature on community service learning and undergraduate student researchers is reviewed. Other campuses and communities can easily adapt the VOICE framework and engagement strategies to change health determinants in their settings.

Keywords: Community Development, Population Health, Interdisciplinary, Health Promotion, Research Partnerships, Action Research, Community Engagement, Healthy Campuses

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 3, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.27-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 711.395KB)).

Dr. Claire Budgen

Associate Professor Emerita of Nursing., University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Claire Budgen, RN, BSN (U of Washington), MSN (U of California San Francisco), PhD (U of Texas Austin), is interested in young adult health, mental health, practice-relevant research, community health, interdisciplinary teams and models to harmonize competing interests in healthy, sustainable and economic development. She is an associate professor emerita nursing (UBC), principal investigator for VOICE.

Doris Callaghan

Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada

Doris Callaghan, RN, BSN (U of Saskatchewan), MSc (U of Manchester), is an associate professor at UBC. Her research interests include healthy living, internal medicine, non-communicable disease prevention, action research, healthy community development, and nursing curriculum design. She has been a VOICE research team member since study began in 2006.

Dr. Linda Hatt

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Linda Hatt, BSc (U of Oklahoma), MSc, PhD (U of Alberta) is interested in the application of psychological principles to health issues including treatment, prevention, and health promotion. With a background in physiotherapy and current teaching interests in health psychology, she brings a unique perspective to health community development. She has been a faculty co-researcher with VOICE since 2009.

Dr. Donna L. M. Kurtz

Faculty of Health and Social Development, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Donna Kurtz, RN, BSN (U of Victoria), MN and PHD (Deakin University), is an Aboriginal Métis researcher committed to culturally safe, participatory, indigenous, and feminist research. Her current collaborative research includes inequities and disparities of urban Aboriginal peoples, health policy change, Aboriginal nursing, Métis health promotion, and Aboriginal health curriculum development. She has been a faculty co-researcher with VOICE since 2011.

Melissa Feddersen

Kelowna, BC, Canada

Melissa Feddersen, RN, BSN (UBC), is a nurse clinician at the UBC Health and Wellness Centre. Her practice background is in public health and youth/student health, wellness, mental health, substance use. She is a graduate student in nursing. She was grant-funded by Health Canada for tobacco control program development and evaluation research. She has been a project and research coordinator with VOICE since 2006.

Robyn Wiebe

Victoria, BC, Canada

Robyn Wiebe, RN, BSN (UBC), teaches in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She is completing a master's thesis at the University of Victoria with a focus on international students' experiences using VOICE data. She has worked with VOICE since 2008 as an undergraduate student, postgraduate intern, project coordinator, and core research team member.

Curt More

Curt More has an Arts Assoc. degree (Okanagan College) and is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts student. He is a teaching assistant for psychology research and a journeyman electrician. He is a psychology major, English minor, working toward a PhD in psychology. He worked with VOICE in 2012 as student co-researcher (class assignment and directed studies), and currently is a paid research assistant.

Casey Hamilton

Casey Hamilton, RD, BSc, is a dietician at the UBC Health and Wellness Centre, and a teaching assistant for health policy. Her interests include food security (local healthy food and agriculture), built and natural environments, physical well-being, and outdoor trails. She is a graduate student completing her MSc thesis in urban agriculture policy development and has been a research coordinator for VOICE since 2011.

Alexa Geddes

Alexa Geddes is a Bachelor of Science undergraduate student at UBCO. She is a biology major, psychology minor, and a student member of the UBCO Senate. Her research interests include biological and psychological health, health promotion, community based research, and interdisciplinary thinking. She was a volunteer student co-researcher with VOICE in 2012, and is now a paid research assistant.