Abstract – Facilitating the Development of Community Capacity and Self-Efficacy in Esfuerzo del Paraiso, Dominican Republic – Matthew Crittenden

This summer, I will be conducting research with the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability (SOMOS) in Esfuerzo del Paraiso, Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic. I will travel with other team members to the Dominican Republic, support our ongoing work in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), conduct Social Network Analysis (SNA) and DTRA (domain, tasks, resources, activities) research, facilitate meetings with community members, collect spatial data, and complete an ArcGIS Story Map representation of SOMOS’s trailblazing partnership with the Esfuerzo community. This summer project will be an extension of the work SOMOS has been continuing for over a decade, in which we seek to answer the questions:

  • What is the association between SOMOS’s intervention and improved health outcomes when examined through the mediating variables of collective capacity and self-efficacy?
  • How can a W&M undergraduate student organization facilitate the development of community capacity and self-efficacy through research and community partnership?

Esfuerzo is a marginalized, para-urban, informal settlement where SOMOS has partnered to improve health outcomes for over a decade. SOMOS started with the aim of improving health outcomes because the founding members believed they were best equipped with the skills to improve health outcomes. Though, many years later, we as an organization have found ourselves in shifting roles, trying to understand how we can best partner with the community to increase community capacity and self-efficacy, thereby improving health outcomes.

Before travelling to the Dominican Republic, I will work with other team members to review and research the literature on sustainable participatory development. My teammates and I will review and analyze previously-acquired social network analysis (SNA, from Borgatti, 2009) and DTRA (adaption of Bosworth and Kreps’ 1986 post-disaster community organization analysis applied to measuring capacity in community development) data to better support the Esfuerzo community in addressing their felt needs (Battacharyya, 2004) in the future. We will arrange phone calls with community members to stay in consistent contact. We will develop protocols for how to interact with community members, log new data, improve community capacity, and identify and address felt health needs.

After returning to the United States, I will complete the final part of my project by publishing an ArcGIS Story Map presentation of SOMOS’s partnership history with the Esfuerzo community and the crucial work I and my teammates will do this summer.