Community Organizing for Health Promotion in the Rural South: An Exploration of Community Competence

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Abstract

Community organizing, an approach to health promotion that has the potential to address the social and environmental roots of poor health while maintaining a high degree of citizen participation and control, is a promising strategy for addressing the health needs of the rural South. This study, through qualitative analysis of 11 in-depth interviews with community organizers, examines how community organizing is being used for health promotion in rural North Carolina. It explores the mechanisms through which community organizing efforts increase community competence, which include strengthening contacts between people, providing an organizational framework through which people can receive skills training, unifying communities behind a common mission, maintaining community control, and creating opportunities for success.

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