Washtenaw County Public Health (WCPH) has collected data on the health status of County Latino/as through quantitative surveys and qualitative Community Conversations. However, the small number of participants in these activities has repeatedly led to difficulties in adequately understanding issues related to Latino/a health. It has been over five years since the Latino/a community was systematically surveyed and the population has expanded considerably since then.
Prior efforts have revealed disparities in health outcomes, as well as in the social determinants of health. The Encuesta Buenos Vecinos project will gather comprehensive information from 500 Washtenaw County Latino/as on health status and social determinants of health utilizing community based participatory research methods. The survey will build on previous work by WCPH and Casa Latina, Washtenaw County’s new non-profit and developing Latino community center, and will incorporate trusted community members as surveyors and trusted community locations as survey sites to address community members’ immigration and discrimination fears.
Community members will participate in the creation and implementation of the survey and the dissemination of survey results. Buenos Vecinos means “Good Neighbors” in Spanish and the project will give particular attention to issues related to social cohesion, social capital, and community engagement. The data will provide robust baseline measurements of health status and social determinants of health among Latino/a county residents and increase the capacity of WCPH and Casa Latina staff and University of Michigan School of Public Health faculty for engaging in health promoting research and intervention with community members.
The results will be used both to guide existing efforts to address social equity issues through affordable housing choices, transportation, economic opportunities and healthy food access in the Washtenaw Avenue Corridor (funded by a $3,000,000 HUD Community Challenge Planning Grant) and also apply for additional external funding for interventions to build social capital/social cohesion in the Latino/a population and address other issues and concerns identified by survey participants.