HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Partnerships, Empowerment) Works

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HopeWorksHOPE Works addresses obesity within the context of social and economic determinants of health (education, poverty, employment) among low-income and minority women in two rural counties in NC. Women meet twice a month in HOPE Circles led by Circle Leaders from the community. Circles provide social support, teach strategies for weight management, and help women set goals.
Topic area(s): Obesity Prevention and Control; Women, Children and Minorities

Purpose

HOPE Works’ 5-year research goal is to develop, implement and evaluate a community-based obesity and empowerment program for overweight and obese, low-income and minority women in two rural counties through a community-based participatory research approach.

Objective 1: Building on previous research, and in close partnership with our community partners, plan and implement an innovative intervention approach that links the health issues of obesity, diet, physical activity, stress and the “hope” issues of education, jobs, economic improvement and community development in 2 rural counties.

Objective 2: Conduct formative research to identify community, organizational, family, and individual barriers, cultural concerns, and facilitators to address the obesity and “hope” issues.

Objective 3: Using CBPR, plan and assess strategies to expand the responsibilities and capacities of our community partners to implement the HOPE Works project.

Objective 4: Evaluate the impact of the intervention.

Project Description

The concept of hope from the field of positive psychology offers a framework for health behavior change that highlights the importance of enhancing participants’ ability to envision, act on, and achieve goals that will lead to the desired health and life changes. HOPE Works seeks to increase hope among participants by addressing obesity within the context of social and economic determinants of health (education, poverty, employment) among low-income and minority women in two rural counties in NC. HOPE Works uses a community based participatory research approach designed with the HPDP Community Advisory Committee, and is implemented by Community Coordinators who work closely with HPDP HOPE Works staff. Local community members serve as HOPE Circle Leaders and receive training to lead bi-monthly HOPE Circles of 10 to 12 low-income, overweight women. HOPE circle sessions provide social support, teach strategies for weight management, and help women set goals for reaching health and economic/educational objectives. Participants receive monthly newsletters that provide individualized health information and strategies to achieve targeted behavior changes as well as the goals women set for health and life improvement. Community-wide events and interventions, organized and implemented by the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Community Coordinators in conjunction with county Healthy Carolinians groups, foster community support. A rigorous evaluation will assess the program’s effects on HOPE Works participants followed over one year as well as overall change in community health indicators over the 5-year project period. Evaluation methods include focus groups, interviews, pre and post written surveys and pre and post random community surveys.

Two HOPE Works spin-off projects, Seeds of HOPE and Threads of HOPE, address economic empowerment through community-led strategic planning and the development of a micro-enterprise business.

Funding

  • Source: CDC funding for core demonstration research project
  • Dates of funding: September 30, 2004-September 29, 2009
  • Current Status: Disseminated

Key Contacts

Principal Investigator: Marci K. Campbell, RD, MPH, PhD, marci_campbell@unc.edu, 966-7230

Project Director/Manager: Salli Benedict, MPH, salli_benedict@unc.edu, 966-6090

Links

Prevention Research Centers Program: http://www.cdc.gov/prc/