Introduction to the Community:
Community health is a critical aspect of modern day care and the need to focus on a community as the client is one of the roles of the nurses. It provides for an assessment of the overall health needs of a community based on the identification that communities or societies share behaviors and values across food choices, behaviors and preferences all that have a direct influence on the health depicted by the community in question (Nies & McEwen, 2015). The focus of this paper is on the assessment of the Brooklyn New York 11234 community as our target community which has been identified as a community in need and where specific health interventions are necessary to avert the possibility of a decline in their health status into the future. The paper will utilize a windshield survey tool that will help analyze the critical areas of this community that impact on their health and ultimately help draw a comprehensive diagnosis as well as a management plan for that can assure this community of viable health status in the future.
Within Brooklyn, there are up to five public schools and a total of 22 private schools. These public schools include the 217 Colonel David Marcus School, the Frederick Wachtel, 1100 Elm Avenue, Brooklyn, Edward R. Murrow High School, the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School and the P.S. 99 Isaac Asimov public schools which all have a teacher-student ratio of between 1:11 and 1:20. These schools cover the curriculum for grades between PK-5, PK-8, 9-12 as well as K-4 (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012). These schools are mostly funded or supported by faith-based groups mainly the Jewish religion, the Roman Catholic Schools and the Seventh Day Adventist groups but they do not discriminate in their enrollment and the curriculum meets the national standards required for the grades offered. These schools comprise of elementary schools, middle schools and high schools with a transition rate of about 76% on average across these grades or levels (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012). On religion, Jewish faith, Christianity, Islam are the major dominant religions as indicated by the presence of Catholic churches, synagogues, Mosques and protestant churches. Across the racial and ethnic groups, it is evident that the Black/African Americans are the dominant group in this region (44.3%) followed by the Latino (31.8%, the Asians (13.7%) while the white population as well as other minority races and ethnic groups fill up the remaining percentage (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012).
Indicators of social and economic conditions
The region can be termed as a commercial and transport hub that is located within a suburban and urban boundary and it is developing significantly into an urban commercial and transport center for the region. There are many warehouses in the region as well as large trucks carrying cargo, loading or unloading in this area. These warehouses and the trucks are the major course of casual labor for the people in this region which explains the high number of people in the streets and in the areas around the warehouses. The unemployment rate in the region is significantly high especially for the young generation and this is indicated by the number of young people waiting outside the warehouses for the casual jobs whose pay is significantly poor compared to the minimum wage values at the national level.
There are several hospitals in the region but apparently there is no visible acute care hospital across the entire region surveyed over the two sessions we visited the area. The notable hospitals include the Maimonides Medical Center, the New York Community Hospital and the Beth Israel Medical Center which are all community-based and faith-based facilities that are within the easy reach of the community and whose costs of services is within the capabilities of this community (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012). There are several private hospitals in the region but these are located in the commercial center as indicated by the billboards. These facilities offer specialty services ranging from general practice, pain medicine, internal medicine, dermatology, neurology, pediatrics, allergy, diabetes management, obesity and overweight issues, chronic illnesses and cancers, allergy and immunology (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012). These private entities are open for six days in a week and they provide referrals to the major community hospitals when necessary. There are four public parks in the region and these include the Friends Field, Colonel David Marcus Memorial Playground, Ocean Parkway Malls and the Kolbert Playground, Avenue which are open to the public (Brooklyn Public Library, 2012). There is however no major activities in the parks save for the few young couples sitting under the shades. These parks are significantly underutilized based on the level of activities visible in these areas.
Environmental conditions related to health
The streets and the pathways are significantly well planned to serve the majority of people walking from one place to another. The transport network is also good and with feeder roads connecting to the highway and the residential areas. However, the pathways and the flower beds in the streets are littered with plastics, cigarette pieces, as well as bottles of beer. Some seem to have stayed for long as they hold liquid and are becoming a nuisance to the population due to pungent smell in some selected areas. The houses are structurally stable and indicating regular maintenance but most of the houses lack complete plumbing as indicated by the water cans in the residential areas indicating that the residents are forced to fetch water from common points and use them in their houses. There are very few household with gardens, backyards or open spaces and children are seen playing or riding on the streets and the unused patches of land along or on the roadsides. The elderly are seen sitting in the balconies or the verandahs of their residences. The housing units are not however overcrowded and can be termed as enjoying lighting and air flow.
The unused parks, lack of open spaces and the high number of bars and pubs selling liquor are a major concern in this region. They seem to be the most utilized premises and this could explain the high number of cigarette pieces and beer bottles in the streets and pathways. The churches, mosques and synagogues indicate significantly high level of activity and they could be an important aspect of helping the recovery of this community whose health is in need. There are many young pregnant mothers walking alongside their female friends and this could be an indication of a poor family structures and increased cases of teenage pregnancy.
Attitude toward healthcare
The elderly groups are the major consumers of health as indicated by the average age group seeking services in health facilities. The increased number of restaurants selling fast foods is a major concern and this seems to be the other premises apart from the bars and pubs enjoying high levels of activity. The young population is the major users of these premises and they are seen walking in and out of these premises. The restaurants are mainly dominant in the regions close to the warehouses where these groups tend to spend most of their time. The low level of activity in the parks is a clear indication of the preference for sedentary lifestyles and the substitution of active lifestyles with one that involves use if liquor and drugs in this region. There is no indication of folk medicine in the region whatsoever.
The survey conducted over two sessions; a Friday evening and a Saturday mid-morning indicates that this community is highly dominated by the young generation. Among the notable elements of health are the high rates of teenage pregnancy, high consumption of alcohol, disregard or underutilization of health resources available and the high incidences of obesity and overweight cases in the school-going generation. These factors point to a population that has most of the required resources at their availability but one that does not understand how to fully utilize those resources (Nies & McEwen, 2015). The preference for sedentary lifestyles as indicated by the poor usage of public parks, the high consumption of liquor are all pointers to a young generation that is at risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer in the future. The high rates of teenage pregnancy could be an indication of the cases of unprotected sex an aspect that can be linked to the use of drugs and the associated irresponsible behaviors. The incidences of restaurants as the main sources of food for this population are another pointer to the health-associated risks of poor food choices (Nies & McEwen, 2015).
This population of Brooklyn and particularly the school-going group needs to be subjected to a community-based intervention that involves schools, public health units and the community health agencies. There is significant evidence to suggest that the since cancer is the leading cause of death in the region, the societal approach to health is to blame for this occurrence and it is something that has been entrenched in the community’s behaviors and social approaches. The high incidences of obesity and overweight in children point to the parental influence on poor choices of lifestyles and foods. There is an apparent missing link between individual health and the public health units and this implies a need to revitalize public health approaches with a view to prevention of chronic illnesses, management of health behaviors and a target to improve enrollment into health insurance plans to increase accessibility to health services (Nies & McEwen, 2015).
Brooklyn Public Library. (2012). About Brooklyn Public Library: Hours and Locations. Retrieved from http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/locations
Nies, M. A., & McEwen, M. (2015). Community/public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders.