By Corinne Cohen
I am a resident in Family and Preventive Medicine, concurrently working towards getting my MPH. I attended the Community Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) workshop at the American Public Health Association National Conference, which was organized by APHA’s International Health Section on October 25, 2008. Project Concern International (PCI) facilitated the workshop.
We opened by discussing the principles of the 1978 Alma-Ata Conference, which include health as a fundamental human right, equity, and the emphasis on community participation.
We engaged in several spirited group discussions about the role of CBPHC in our own work and ideas for effective behavior change. A highlight was a presentation on the use of TB-Photovoice (http://tbphotovoice.org/tbpv2/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1), a powerful means for creating effective messages of change from those who are most affected by the disease. At the end of the workshop we broke into groups to discuss either the documentation and dissemination of work, how to increase funding, and how to advance knowledge of CBPHC. My group was comprised of documenters and disseminatorsand we discussed starting a new journal that is a forum for talking about projects that are in the works or have been completed — this would allow newcomers to avoid reinventing the wheel, would serve as a forum for old hats to bounce ideas off each other around what did and didn’t work in their projects, and would also provide powerful individual stories, photos, videos, etc. that would assist with funding. The forum would be online, open access and free. Start up funding for such a new journal is actively pursued and hopefully we can capitalize on that. Wikipedia sounded like an option as well. Also, we want to try to connect students and young professionals with project managers so that we can recruit writers! Community-Campus listserv may be the way to go for that connection.
Overall, the workshop was stimulating and exciting – an opportunity to gather a collection of dedicated and passionate professionals to share ideas and projects that serve a common goal.