Core Research Projects
All the core research projects of the PHH-PRC, since its inception, have embraced the community-based participatory research model for working in—and with—local communities. In the two most recent projects, the community health worker model has been tailored for use in the public housing setting.
Current Core Research Project
For the next two years, the PRC’s core research project will be the Health Families project. This project combines the results of our previous projects, offering a breadth of health-oriented services and activities, including walking groups, health screenings, nutrition classes, and improved access to healthy foods through community sponsored agriculture and a mobile fruit and vegetable truck, The Fresh Truck. Walking groups are led by a resident of the development, who is the designated Health Living Advocate. This individual also attends the screenings, classes, and food delivery events. Currently, we are operating in Charlestown, Gallivan, Fairmount, and Lillian Barkley (formerly Cathedral) developments. Specifically, we are evaluating whether by addressing a range of health challenges faced by public housing residents, health outcomes can be improved.
Past Core Research Projects
In 2007 and 2008, the PHH-PRC undertook a formal evaluation of the program that trains public housing residents to work as Resident Health Advocates —specialized community health workers serving residents of public housing. This RHA intervention study, a core research project of the PHH-PRC, demonstrated that when an RHA was present in a public housing development, working to motivate and assist residents, a higher percentage of residents took advantage of opportunities for health screening. (The published research article describing the intervention study can be downloaded here.)
From 2008 to 2009, the core research project extended the RHA model, considering the effectiveness of RHAs who have received additional training to serve as Resident Health Navigators. These Resident Health Navigators provided guidance and support to help public housing residents find their way through the health care maze. Specifically, the research project assessed whether Resident Health Navigators improve residents’ access to care offered in local community health centers after an abnormal result on a screening test.
An earlier core research study evaluated the GirlStars Program, which was developed to provide adolescent girls living in public housing access to both organized physical activity and health education, in alternating weekly sessions. The evaluation found that participation had positive effects for the girls—increasing their health knowledge, self-confidence, and decision-making skills—but that a variety of factors kept participation rates low. (The published research article describing the GirlStars evaluation can be downloaded here.)
2011-2012: Project HHEART
2007-2009: Resident Health Navigators & Evaluation of Resident Health Advocates on the Move (RHAM)
2002-2005: Evaluation of GirlStars Program