CBPR approach aims to educate diverse patients with rheumatic conditions

At the 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Professionals annual meeting in Atlanta, experts from the HSS Education Institute at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) presented their method for developing and implementing effective educational programs for diverse patients with rheumatic conditions.

HSS adopts the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to develop and implement impactful educational programs that increase the quality of life for people living with musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions.

Our process begins with a community health needs assessment so that we can better understand the needs of, and obstacles faced by people living with musculoskeletal and rheumatologic health conditions."

Titilayo Ologhobo, associate director of Outcomes, Public and Patient Education at HSS

The community health needs assessment gathers input from the public and academic partners, patients, physicians and staff through a survey, community forums and community-partner engagement meetings. The input includes information about patients' health status, comorbidities, health behaviors, socio-demographic factors, access to care and preferred methods for receiving educational information. The results reveal our community's top health concerns and priorities. These insights inform the development of targeted community initiatives.

As part of the CBPR approach, evaluation of program results based on relevant outcome measures and the dissemination of findings to the community on an ongoing basis are critical steps. These appraisals shape future community needs assessments and improvements to programs.

"At the HSS Education Institute, our aim is to help patients take more control to self-manage their symptoms and give them the confidence to stay as active as possible," said Robyn Wiesel, associate director, Public and Patient Education at HSS. "A more educated patient is a more empowered patient. Our Community-Based Participatory Research Approach has allowed us to create and implement specialized programs that successfully address the needs of culturally, geographically and economically diverse patient populations."

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