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Using Asset Mapping to Identify Health Needs of a Latinx Population in Rural Virginia
Sara Debab, Interdisciplinary Science, with Dina Tamar Garcia, Health Behavior & Policy, VCU School of Medicine
According to the Virginia Department of Health, the Commonwealth’s Latinx population sees worse health outcomes compared to other ethnic groups in the state. Latinx living in rural areas of the state are of particular concern due to federally-recognized physician shortages and various social determinants that exacerbate the situation. We studied Galax, Virginia, a rural city in southwest Virginia that is more than 14% Latinx, a rarity in the Appalachian region. With the city ranking 130th out of 134 cities and counties in the state for health outcomes, an inquiry focused on identifying the health needs of Latinx in Galax was necessary to expand upon very limited data. Asset mapping was conducted to identify available resources that play a factor in the health of residents. Navigating and observing the city through walking and windshield tours allowed us to determine what resources and assets exist in the community that currently address health issues. Through this process we obtained various tangible sources of information that served to assist us in different ways: apart from deriving names of important contacts to conduct key informant interviews with, we obtained various tangible sources of information about available services by numerous government and private organizations. Consequently, we successfully identified the key community organizations and leaders to seek valuable insights from in future key informant interviews.
Our ability to obtain updated and accurate assessments of available resources is evidence of the success of employing asset-mapping methods to identify health needs.
Dr. Dina Tamar Garcia
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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