“Our main question since the autumn has been: how do color communities relate to the medical system? And, of course, there’s a lot to talk about,” Capotescu said. “There is a feeling that trust in the medical system, in science, in state institutions and in democracy is in crisis. Through various forums and community-level conversations, we partnered with the Bronx Community Health Network, a provider in the Bronx, and other community partners. “
What is a community health worker?
Kapotescu: They are a group of people who work between the medical profession and patient communities. They facilitate and negotiate the transfer of knowledge and relationships between hospitals, doctors, nurses and patients who use these services.
They are also involved in many more community-based services, such as transport, food security, food stamps, access to technology, access to government services. They have different tasks on their plate and equip communities with knowledge about them.
They are like trusted messengers. There is a big push from the Biden administration to increase confidence in vaccines and the medical system, so we need these trusted envoys.
Thomson: We so often think of information and health as institutions or places where you go to get services. I think the interesting thing we’ve seen about CHW is that they offer continuity of care, not only within the medical system, but also within other welfare and well-being systems, whether it’s food coupons, transportation of garbage or eating in the neighborhood. All sorts of things about healthcare that we don’t think about because he’s not in the hospital. This is not just a place you go to, this is a person you have known for years or have a constant face-to-face and personal relationship.
What is the focus of the exhibition?
Kapotescu: This exhibition is about HRV and their stories. It tries to capture stories through their eyes about what their work involves and what it is like to work at the intersection of these institutions, communities and spheres of society.
We will have an opening on June 14 and will last until the end of July at The Forum on the Manhattanville campus and invite stakeholders from different levels of community, politics, academia and journalism to have a moment of exchange and engagement.
We want people to have an unlikely conversation about some of the shortcomings in the medical system and some of the problems that CHW overcomes in its work, so that we can convince people to make a difference, get more funding, support, better training and visibility. so that CHW is not treated as an institutional follow – up.
What is the PhotoVoice technique?
Kapotescu: We use a method very loosely called PhotoVoice. In essence, PhotoVoice is a photo taken in a moment or situation that depicts a particular relationship from the perspective of those who took the photo. It is accompanied by text that provides texture and context to make tangible what the picture is about. It’s kind of like a photo essay.
We did a series of seminars with CHW. The first session was a training session where we explained the PhotoVoice method and what the project is about. In the second session, we gathered the material they created and discussed it in a group setting. There is little guidance on our part during the process as they polish their stories. We have done this now with 60 CHW. Many of them come from almost everywhere in New York.
Read the stories of three community health workers below and be sure to stop by the exhibit starting June 14 at the Forum, 601 W 125th St.