Some aspects of a community that could affect health are:

  1. Social Support Systems
  2. Community Health Care Systems
  3. Economic Resources
  4. Environmental Factors

Social Support Systems

Are personal network of family friends, co-workers and peers. They are the people you turn to in good times and bad. Studies show that people who share their lives with others will live longer, have fewer illnesses and enjoyed enhanced quality of life. Being part of a social system can act as a buffer between an individual and the difficult situation in their life (nyc. gov).

Community Health Systems

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Consists of general and acute care hospitals; inpatient and outpatient services, general acute care, Emergency Rooms, Medical/Surgical services, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry and Rehabilitation (nyc. gov).

Economic Resources

Are the assets which an economy may have available to supply and produce goods and services to meet the ever-changing needs and wants of individuals and society as a whole (nyc. ov).

Environmental Factors

Affect human health in important ways, both positive and negative. Positive environmental factors sustain health and promoting them is preventive medicine, e. g. nutrition, water, exercise, recreation, sanitation, waste recycling and disposal. Negative environmental factors are threats to health, and controlling them is public environmental health (nyc. gov).

Community Defined – A community is a social group determined by geographic boundaries and/or common values and interests. It functions within a articular social structure and exhibits and creates norms, values and social institutions [WHO, 1974, p. 7] (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008).

Community Health – Is the meeting of collective needs by identifying problems and managing behaviors within the community itself and between the community and the larger society. The use of status, structure and process is used to define community health. Status measures vital statistics, e. g. births and deaths; incidence and prevalence of leading causes of mortality and morbidity, health risk profiles and functional ability levels.

Examples of Structure are health facilities, health manpower and health resource patterns. Process is commitment to community health e. g. awareness of self and others, effective communication, conflict containment and accommodation, participation, management of relationships with society and machinery for facilitating participant interaction and decision making (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008).

Community as Client - When focusing on community as a client, direct clinical care can be a part of population-focused community health practice (Elsevier).

For example, sometimes direct nursing care is provided to individuals and family members because their health needs are common community-related problems. Changes in their health will affect the health of the community. Also, the treatment of a client for tuberculosis reduces the risk to other community members. This care reduces the risk of an epidemic in the community (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008). A Healthy People 2020 health Indicator that applies to my specialty area is in my field of experience in Mental Health is - Suicides.

Housing and zoning Housing in my neighborhood consists primarily of privately owned pre-war apartment buildings and condos built mostly in the 1920s and 1930s; three of them were totally refurbished in the 1970s. They are similar in architectural designs and constructed from bricks. Most are detached with very little front or back space and their outward appearances are appropriate. Most have locked doors and central heating and modern plumbing. Open Space There is a large park and five blocks of areas filled with park benches on both sides with many trees and green grass.

There are also trees on the sidewalks and islands with trees and plants in the center of the street. These public areas are kept clean by city sanitation dept. , and are utilized by neighborhood residents. BoundariesI-95 runs through the neighborhood and the subway lines are above and below two main thoroughfares in the area and there are many commercial units , e. g. medical offices and beauty parlors and grocery stores along with the residential units.

The neighborhood called the Morrisania section of the Bronx, NY has an identity that is not displayed and carries both an official and unofficial names.

Commons

The parks are where most people hang out in the summer time; there are swimming pools and sprinklers in the larger area of the park and the neighborhood is very culturally diversified. Residents will normally sit with their families and/or friends. TransportationMany residents have privately owned vehicles but public transportation is frequently available.

There are two subways and local and express buses that will take you to and from the community. Several major highways, e. g. I-95 and I-87 runs through the neighborhood and easily accessed from most areas. Service Centers There are large 3 large hospitals and multiple satellite clinics, numerous amounts of private medical and dental offices; a Boys and Girls Club, Police Athletic League, a Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the only Emergency Assistance Unit (EAU) in New York City (serving all 5 boroughs), Legal Aid Society and a Neighborhood Assoc. or Intercultural Affairs. All are well utilized. Stores and Street PeopleThere are several pharmacies, grocery stores and 8 supermarkets and 2 shopping malls in the neighborhood 6 of which are accessible by walking, the other 2 by city transportation or taxi. Many people are seen on the street during the day time; women with babies in strollers or toddlers by their side, teenagers, hospital workers, drunks in the park and animals; mostly dogs on leashes. Signs of Decay The neighborhood is alive and on its way up in terms of building improvements.

There are very few abandoned buildings and the streets are clean and abandoned cars are scarce. An occasional real estate (mostly for rent) signs and political posters can be seen in some areas. Race and EthnicityThe residents are predominantly African-Americans and Hispanics. Ethnic food stores, e. g. West African, West Indian, Mexican and other Hispanics (mostly run by Koreans) abound. There are Catholic and protestant churches, and Mosques, Catholic and other private and charter schools; and various languages can be heard on the street.

The hospital provides information printed in 6 – 8 different languages and utilizes language banks. ReligionMost of the residents are Catholics and there are several protestant and Pentecostal churches and lately Mosques are beginning to appear. The three Catholic churches have schools attached. Health and MorbidityThere is evidence of chronic diseases and communicable diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness. The top 3 health related issues in this community are HIV/AIDS, obesity and DM. PoliticsThere is no evidence of political activities.

Political campaign posters are usually seen around election time; the community representatives are all Democrats so I do believe that the neighborhood residents are predominantly Democratic. MediaThere is a local TV station called News 12 the Bronx, and several newspapers in English i. e. the NY Times, Daily News & Post. A Spanish newspaper El Diario and other newspapers in several different languages, TV and radio represent impersonal and formal type of communication and are useful in providing information quickly to a large number of people.

Television appears to be the most important.

References:

Anderson, E. T. , Mcfarlane, J. Windshield Survey Components, Philadelphia, 1988, J. B. Lippincott

Community Mental Health: Retrieved from www. nyc. gov. February 22, 2012

Community as client: application of the nursing process, Philadelphia, 1988, J. B. Lippincott

Healthy People 2020: Retrieved from www. healthypeople. gov. February 22, 2012 Stanhope, M. , & Lancaster, J. (2008).

Population-centered health care in the community (7th ed. ). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier