Building Common-Unity One Club at a Time
The World Health Organization defines health as a ‘state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. However, most health and development strategies undervalue or ignore the influence that social well-being has on physical and mental health outcomes. Many impoverished communities around the world are lacking in one specific area of social well-being, social capital, which in turn affects disease incidence and prevalence. Therefore, peer-group strategies that simultaneously address community prioritized health needs and facilitate increases in social capital are required.
The Community Health Club model is one strategy that has been proven effective in altering communal health norms and fostering ownership of development priorities by raising levels of social capital. Community Health Clubs provide the platform for people to engage in dialogue, identify problems, build consensus, and use positive peer pressure to a form a new ‘culture of health’. This strategy developed in Africa and has been adapted to create a social movement dedicated to holistic community health that is re-energizing civic engagement in post-earthquake Haiti and will soon be utilized to improve health outcomes in medically underserved communities in San Antonio.
Jason Rosenfeld is a public health professional with over 10 years of experience designing, implementing and evaluating international health and development programs, with a specific focus on community based water, sanitation and hygiene education and behavior change. Jason began his career in Ghana, West Africa as a Community Health Adviser with the US Peace Corps, where he contributed to the National Guinea Worm Eradication Program.
After returning to the US, Jason worked with the United States Agency for International Development’s Food for Peace program as an Emergency Analyst before obtaining his Masters in Public Health in the behavioral sciences and health education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Mr. Rosenfeld then moved with his family to South Africa where he designed and managed Community Health Club programs in urban and rural communities with the Africa AHEAD organization. His success in South Africa led to his appointment with the Zimbabwe AHEAD organization in Harare, Zimbabwe during the international cholera response efforts from 2009-2010.
Since 2011, Mr. Rosenfeld has served as the Assistant Director for Global Health at the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics (Center), where he directs the School of Medicine’s global health program and curriculum, and mentors MD/MPH students engaging with community-based health education and evaluation research. Since 2012, Mr. Rosenfeld has directed the Lakou La Sante collaboration, a partnership between the Center and the Eco-Eau et Jeunesse Haiti organization that is responsible for implementing the first adaptations of the Community Health Club model in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
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