The Hepatitis B Community Engagement Project, launched in May of 2009, continues to engage local leaders to raise awareness in their communities around chronic hepatitis B through the use of culturally relevant messages and tools. These tools, which were inspired by the San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign, were jointly developed by International Community Health Services (ICHS), a federally qualified health center, and WithinReach, the parent organization for the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW). The partners in the development of this project were deliberate in tailoring the resources and messages to meet the needs of the diverse Puget Sound region of Washington State with a focus on two core strategies:
- Build community capacity using a community-based engagement model to strengthen the role of grassroots organizations; identify community's needs, issues, and assets; and to develop a shared agenda, and
- Exchange skills and knowledge with the community to promote community-based policy change by convening multiple stakeholders for media events as well as disseminating in-language media resources.
For the second primary goal of exchanging ideas and skills, ICHS and HBCW staff and volunteers convened a media event targeting community health leaders, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community members, East African refugee and immigrant community members and local, ethnic media to share what was learned from these community engagement conversations and to share the products developed from their input such as ads, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, and other media. Copies of these materials are available at http://www.ichs.com/index.php?page=HepB with translations in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Amharic, Swahili, Laotian, and Tagalog. Additional languages will be produced as the project continues.
This project provides valuable input and ideas on how to engage and mobilize different communities regarding hepatitis B. The insights from the conversations have been used to develop new multi-lingual educational resources, and culturally appropriate strategies and tools for future use to help educate different communities about hepatitis B. And the work is ongoing, recent projects include multi-lingual digital stories on how hepatitis B has impacted some communities. To view these personal digital stories, go to http://www.ichs.com/index.php?page=clinics.