Special Issue "Community Health Interventions to Promote Health Equity, Physical Health and Reduce Toxic/Chronic Stress, Trauma"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Vicki Johnson-Lawrence
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Public Health and Health Sciences, MSU College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA
Interests: health promotion during trauma; trauma-informed practices; multimorbidity; health equity, implementation science
Dr. Rodlescia Sneed
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Division of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, 200 East 1st Street, Flint, MI 48502, Grand Rapids, USA
Interests: caregiving; trauma-informed practices; social relationships; life course; chronic disease risk
Dr. Shan Parker
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI 48502, USA
Interests: community participatory research practices; public health education; health promotion in vulnerable communities; trauma-informed practices, STI prevention and reproductive health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Collective trauma is increasingly present across the world. While everyone encounters stressful events, it is more common for these events to become traumatic experiences in socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized communities with long trauma histories. Community health interventions are critical for identifying effective strategies to improve health in vulnerable communities. Much of the existing equity-driven health research acknowledges that community participatory approaches are effective to identify community concerns that should be incorporated into research studies. Opportunities remain for effective community health interventions that not only use participatory approaches but explicitly address primary and secondary traumatic experiences concerning central research outcomes, and with attention to the impact of collective traumatic experiences on health over the course of life. These community health interventions address 1) multiple levels of health—especially concurrent physical health and mental health considerations, 2) attend to prevention addressing forms of secondary and tertiary prevention through traditional treatment practices, and 3) engagement in trauma-informed approaches in community and beyond traditional health settings. Papers addressing these topics as part of community health interventions are invited for this Special Issue, and, in particular, those that consider implementation science methods (including frameworks and strategies (see Proctor, 2011 and Powell, 2015 for examples) to distinguish intervention and implementation activities.

Dr. Vicki Johnson-Lawrence
Dr. Rodlescia Sneed
Dr. Shan Parker
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Collective trauma
  • Community health
  • Community participatory approaches
  • Health equity
  • Stress management
  • Community resiliency
  • Implementation strategies

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Community Health Workers as a Strategy to Tackle Psychosocial Suffering Due to Physical Distancing: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3097; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063097 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many primary care professionals were overburdened and experienced difficulties reaching vulnerable patients and meeting the increased need for psychosocial support. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) tested whether a primary healthcare (PHC) based community health worker (CHW) intervention could [...] Read more.
Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many primary care professionals were overburdened and experienced difficulties reaching vulnerable patients and meeting the increased need for psychosocial support. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) tested whether a primary healthcare (PHC) based community health worker (CHW) intervention could tackle psychosocial suffering due to physical distancing measures in patients with limited social networks. Methods: CHWs provided 8 weeks of tailored psychosocial support to the intervention group. Control group patients received ‘care as usual’. The impact on feelings of emotional support, social isolation, social participation, anxiety and fear of COVID-19 were measured longitudinally using a face-to-face survey to determine their mean change from baseline. Self-rated change in psychosocial health at 8 weeks was determined. Results: We failed to find a significant effect of the intervention on the prespecified psychosocial health measures. However, the intervention did lead to significant improvement in self-rated change in psychosocial health. Conclusions: This study confirms partially the existing evidence on the effectiveness of CHW interventions as a strategy to address mental health in PHC in a COVID context. Further research is needed to elaborate the implementation of CHWs in PHC to reach vulnerable populations during and after health crises. Full article
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Article
Possible Role for Imagery-Based Therapy in Managing PTSD in Pakistani Women Experiencing Domestic Abuse: A Pilot Study Using Eidetic Therapy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2478; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052478 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Domestic abuse of women is a serious problem worldwide that has economic, physical, and psychological consequences, yet in many countries and cultures, victims often have little access to psychological support. Using a pre-post design, we investigated the effects of psychological intervention using an [...] Read more.
Domestic abuse of women is a serious problem worldwide that has economic, physical, and psychological consequences, yet in many countries and cultures, victims often have little access to psychological support. Using a pre-post design, we investigated the effects of psychological intervention using an imagery-based therapy in women showing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from spousal domestic abuse. Forty women, referred from outpatient clinics in Pakistan and meeting inclusion criteria, underwent individual trauma counseling for 10–12 weeks using the principles of Eidetic Therapy, an imagery-based therapy that circumvents heavy reliance on verbal skills and narratives. Women showed significant reductions in PTSD by the end of treatment. Predictors of treatment gains included type of abuse, PTSD level at the outset of therapy, and years in the relationship. Neither economic resources or literacy, nor abuser or victim characteristics, predicted the amount of improvement. In conclusion, therapy was associated with a reduction in PTSD symptoms regardless of literacy level of participants. This reduction in PTSD was notable because, unlike many situations involving spousal abuse, these women were generally not in a position to leave their relationship, and hence the women might have experienced continued exposure to abuse. Context/cultural-based explanations for these findings are presented and discussed. Full article

Review

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Review
Coronavirus Trauma and African Americans’ Mental Health: Seizing Opportunities for Transformational Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073568 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 986
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster of historic proportions with widespread and profound psychological sequelae. African Americans fall ill and die more than whites from COVID and more survivors and loved ones face psychological risk. African Americans also experience greater personal, social, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster of historic proportions with widespread and profound psychological sequelae. African Americans fall ill and die more than whites from COVID and more survivors and loved ones face psychological risk. African Americans also experience greater personal, social, and financial stress even when not personally touched by COVID illness, and they are again vulnerable as COVID diminishes African American community’s capacity for mutual support. Enactment of the American Rescue Act of 2021 can moderate if not eliminate African Americans’ greater adversity and greater psychological challenge; other provisions can move the mental health treatment system beyond its previous failure to reach African Americans as it constructively responds to the crisis that COVID presents. From outreach through trusted community actors and institutions for meeting African Americans’ needs of varying intensity and duration, and by providing a spectrum of evidence supported interventions—culturally adapted as needed—newfound success can mark a turning point toward new approaches and lasting success. Full article
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