Bell, Shannon, Class of 2005 – (Kentucky, USA)

Practicum Summary:

Primary Health Care in Cabin Creek: A Proposal for Community-Based Change and Empowerment

In her research practicum, Shannon Bell outlines a compelling case for a Primary Health Care model for Cabin Creek, WV, where she has worked for several years. Bell argues that in order to address the overarching health problem in poverty-stricken communities is to unlearn traditional, preventative methods of addressing health care and to adopt in place a system that addresses the physical, environmental, cultural, economic, political, and social health of the community as a whole. Cabin Creek, which was once a bustling coal mining town with a population of over 100,000 that relied on subsistence farming, is today characterized by its high teenage pregnancy rate, an employment rate higher than the state average, and a sedentary lifestyle which contributes to reoccurring health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Due to a lack of economic prosperity, unaddressed environmental health issues, and a generally disempowered community, Cabin Creek’s residents suffer from high rates of depression and poor health care. Bell believes that by using the SEED-SCALE model in which you build on a community’s successes, the Primary Health Care model can be introduced by progressive actors in the community who are currently involved with community development and improvement projects.