Exploring Social Capital
By Laurel Jacobs
My name is Laurel Jacobs and I am a doctoral student in the Public Health Policy and Management section here in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. I have been working since 2005 along the U.S.-Mexico border, first as an MPH student and now as the focus of my doctoral research.
My dissertation research is focused on the relationship between dimensions of social capital and advocacy activities among community health workers (CHWs) in Nogales, Douglas, Sierra Vista, and Yuma who are trained in grassroots advocacy. This study contributes new research to the Action for Health/Acción Para La Salud (“Action”) research initiative, which is sponsored by the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion located within the Zuckerman College of Public Health. The purpose of the Action project, which is funded by the U.S. enters or Disease Control and Prevention, is to engage CHWs in community-level advocacy to address root causes of chronic disease.
I am exploring a relationship between CHW social capital and the application of advocacy competencies. One objective of my project is to examine changes in dimensions of social capital over a one year period among CHWs who have received grassroots advocacy training. A second objective is to explore the extent to which dimensions of CHW social capital at baseline predict the types of advocacy activities in which CHWs engage over a one year period.
To meet these objectives I am using a mixed quantitative and qualitative research design, which includes a questionnaire and in-depth interviews with each CHW. Through this project I hope to develop a preliminary model that explicates the relationship between social capital and grassroots advocacy activities led by CHWs. A better understanding of this relationship may support efforts to address the root causes of disease along the U.S.-Mexico border through increased community capacity.
Laurel Jacobs, MPH
Doctoral Candidate, Public Health Policy and Management
University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
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