Community Group Meeting Observation for Hepatitis B
One of the major ways of promoting personal involvement in health policy issues is through involvement in community group meeting. Personal involvement in health policy issues regarding Hepatitis B is also facilitated through participation and observation in a community group meeting. While they are not professional meetings, community group meetings influence policy formulation through discussions on various issues relating to the community in relation to the disease, treatment measures, and effectiveness of the treatment measures in the community. Through discussing various issues relating to a specific health issue, community group meetings develop certain goals that influence health planning and/or policy development. An example of the impact of a community group meeting in policy development for Hepatitis B is a Hepatitis B community meeting that was sponsored by Korean Community Services in New York.
Hepatitis B Program
Hepatitis B meeting was held on April 17, 2015 in Flushing by James Ha, MD and sponsored by Korean Community Services in New York. The meeting was held because of the increased vulnerability of Korean-Americans and recently emigrated immigrants to this public health issue. Actually, Korean-Americans and recently emigrated immigrants are part of higher risk groups relating to Hepatitis B infection as well as chronic liver diseases in comparison to the general American population. Given this trend, PHRC is still devoted to reaching out to the community, especially Korean-Americans, through various measures including education seminars and partnerships with community groups and health centers. At periodic intervals and depending on availability, the Hepatitis B Program was also able to provide low cost screenings, vaccinations, and referrals to partnered clinics.
The integration of low cost screenings, vaccinations, and referrals to partnered clinics played a crucial role in this program because of the significance of these efforts in dealing with the health issue. According to Rein et. al. (2011), incorporating screening into outpatient service settings for Hepatitis B is regarded as the most cost-effective means though the community initiatives may not reach every individual in need of screening (p.560). Therefore, the program plays a crucial role in addressing the various issues associated with this health issue among Korean-Americans and recently emigrated immigrants.
The community group meeting held on April 17, 2015 focused on examining Hepatitis B with regards to its meaning, symptoms, severity, how to contact it, and diagnosis, treatment and prevention. This meeting was based on a specific group process to facilitate the discussions and help in effective decision making in order to influence health planning and/or policy development relating to Hepatitis B The group process utilized was based on the various components for running an effective meeting i.e. planning the meeting, setting up the meeting, running the meeting, and follow up (Kaye, 2014).
With regards to planning the meeting, the objective or agenda of the meeting was determined by various health stakeholders in the community. These stakeholders also decided those who needed to be present in the meeting in order to ensure effective discussions and decisions. These stakeholders set up the meeting more than month before its date and stated that it will be a four-hour long meeting that will be conducted in the afternoon. During this process, they identified a comfortable and convenient place and size for the meeting depending on the specific agenda and the people to be involved in the discussions.
When running the meeting, the chairman, James Ha, started with a welcome note and introductions. This was followed by agreeing on agenda and rules that governed the discussions and presentation. The discussions were centered on what Hepatitis B is, the symptoms, severity of the disease, how people contact it, and diagnosis, treatment and prevention measures. The chairperson was also responsible for keeping the discussion on track, encouraging participation, and ensuring that the discussions were summarized in order to pick vital points. A follow-up procedure was agreed upon that focused on gathering feedback from the group after the meeting through follow-up calls.
The leadership of the group comprises five officials from the local government's department of health...
chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary, assistant secretary and treasurer. Given their expertise in the health sector, these officials not only help in keeping the group discussions on track but providing valuable insights regarding the health issue and the various process in health planning and/or policy development. The agenda of the meeting is determined based on surveys conducted on the community regarding the most pressing health issue. The community survey also focuses on identifying concerns and interests of the public in relation to the specific health issue. Once the survey is conducted by the local health agency and personnel, the agenda is agreed upon by the officials and the group during the last meeting. When agreeing upon the agenda, the date and place of meeting for discussions about it is also agreed upon.
During the meeting, it was quite clear that pharmacists and health care practitioners had vested interests with regards to diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis B Pharmacists and some health care practitioners seemed to advocate or market their products and/or services depending on the potential financial gain for them. However, these interests were handled well by the chairperson who ensured the discussions were kept on track. Some of the strategies used to deal with the vested interests included listening to understand, incorporating the group members to decide, and focusing on agenda and using ground rules.
Consumers or clients played a crucial role in the decision making process by providing information regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment measures utilized by health care practitioners. This information was vital in understanding effective treatment measures and how public health officials can work together to enhance treatment. Decisions in the meeting are made through listening to the various opinions and engaging everyone in the decision making process after an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each probable course of action.
Significance of the Group in National Health Planning and Policy Development
Community group meetings and programs play a vital role in national health planning and policy development. The significance of this group in development of local, state, national health planning and policy development is its role in public health assessment process. Since it incorporates community members, the group provides important information that plays an important role in scientific assessment ("Involving and Communicating with the Community," 2005). The information in scientific assessment is then utilized to formulate local, state, national health planning initiatives and policy. Therefore, the significance of the group in this process is its role as a public health assessment or scientific assessment framework.
Impact of Nurses on this Group
Nurses have a considerable impact on this group since they not only help in the diagnosis and treatment process but also provide important information that helps in the formulation of policies. These health care professionals played a vital role in conducting the free vaccinations and blood tests. During this process, nurses collaborated with community health workers to provide the vaccinations and blood test as part of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention initiatives. The impact of nurses on this group is also attributed to the community screening programs that would help deal with the disease. In the United States, most screening programs for Hepatitis B virus are carried out by independent community organizations (Rein et. al., 2009, p.1). The impact of nurses can be classified into three i.e. vaccination of vulnerable household contacts, providing patient education and medical management, referral of infected patients to partnered clinics, and assisting in the creation of financial strategies.
In light of the significance of this community group in influencing health planning and/or policy development, involvement in another health planning or policy group is important. My involvement in this group was basically to conduct observation of group processes and discussions. These observations were centered on identifying several aspects of the group process and how decisions are made that could influence health planning and policy development. Increasing personal involvement in another health planning or policy group would require participation rather than mere observation of group processes and discussions. My involvement in another health planning or policy group would involve increasing knowledge of the disease among the general public and ensuring the use of culturally-appropriate awareness messages ("Background and Rationale for Hepatitis B," 2010). This involvement would entail increasing awareness regarding the disease, promoting a healthy lifestyle among patients with the disease, and encouraging the public to participate in vaccinations and blood tests.
In conclusion, Hepatitis B is one of the major health issues among Korean-Americans and recently emigrated immigrants as compared to the general American population. This health issue can be addressed through various measures including reaching out to the community through education seminars. As evident in this discussion, the community group meeting was carried out regarding this issue in order to influence health planning and policy development.
"Background and Rationale for Hepatitis B" (2010, January). New York State. Retrieved from Department of Health -- New York State website: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/strategic/background_rationale_hepatitis_b.htm
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