Community is commonly defined by geographic location but encompasses much more. Location is a defining element, but a community also includes “a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in that location or setting”, (MacQueen and McLellan and Metzger, 2001). The community of Parkhill is a neighborhood in the city of North Little Rock, a suburb of Little Rock, in central Arkansas. We measure how well the population adapts to its physical and social environment as well as how well the population supports one another in daily life to determine general community health. A community health nurse strives to develop a community that is physically and psychologically healthy; and encourages those within the community to reach their full potential, as evidenced by a statement from the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity”, (“CDC Centers For Disease Control And Prevention”, 2014).
Community as client refers to the wider group population within the community, with a focus on nursing services needed. A healthy community is described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 report as “one that continuously creates and improves both its physical and social environments, helping people to support one another in aspects of daily life and to develop to their fullest potential”, (“CDC Centers For Disease Control And Prevention”, 2014). North Little Rock has benefited from partnerships with Springhill Baptist Hospital, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arkansas and Union Pacific Railroad with sponsored community health fairs, “flu clinics’, child vaccination public service announcements and organized runs and cycling events. Summary of Overall Impressions
The participating family resides in Historic Parkhill, a socioeconomically diverse area of the City of North Little Rock. It is eclectic and has a bohemian vibe judging from the diverse shops available and differing style of dress seen on the streets. There are pedestrians, cyclists and strollers representing three primary races seen on nearly every street. The area is bordered by Interstate-30 to the South, McCain Boulevard to the North, Ridge Road to the West and North Hills to the East. The area has a mix of large homes from the 1920’s and 30’s; small, post-World War II tract homes and a few newer builds from the 1950’s through the 1980’s.
Most of the homes are well maintained, although there are some in need of repair. According to a Zillow search, there is a price break on the cost of homes at G Avenue, where the homes from G to 47th Street sell for roughly 80% of the homes located in the area G through A. The subject family resides on M avenue, the final residential street before 47th. There are two elementary schools in the community, one of which is slated for closing and sale at the end of this school year. Both schools appear to be predominantly black and Hispanic. There is one middle school for fifth through eighth graders. There are sidewalks on all main thoroughfares and the majority of side streets. The neighborhood has 3 parks within walking distance from the subjects’ home.
All ages are represented in the community. Just spending a short period of time at one of the parks revealed a newborn, toddlers, young children, teenagers, young parents, older adults and many senior citizens. There are two community gardens located here. The area appears to be somewhat racially diverse. While observing traffic in and out of one three gas stations I observed a mix of white, black, and Hispanic customers. Two of the three gas station/mini marts are owned and operated by men of Middle Eastern decent. Based on my windshield assessment, the area is not religiously diverse. The area is predominantly Christian as evidenced by one Baptist church, one Episcopal, one Lutheran and one Pentecostal church in a 14 block linear stretch. The greater community has one Jewish temple. No mosque could be found. Aspects that could affect residents’ health
The community sits on a hill 1.2 miles from the Arkansas River which carries a significant amount of barge traffic. It sits above both Interstates 30 and 40 and is approximately two tenths of a mile from the Union Pacific rail yard. The nearest train track runs at the bottom of the hill, 10 blocks from the western border. All of these conditions put the community at risk for hazardous spills or other environmental accidents. The main thoroughfare that divides Parkhill is John F. Kennedy Boulevard with a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hours. While sidewalks are present, the area where all the local shops are located is not pedestrian friendly. There is no grocery store in the immediate area; the closest is located one mile away in an area of high crime. The next closest grocer is 4.8 miles away. There is a biking trail that links up to the Arkansas River Trail approximately 1/10 of a mile from the subjects’ home. LHI
According to Healthy People 2020 (2015) one of the leading health indicators for Healthy People 2010 is Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, (LHI Topics). Obesity is relevant for this community because, according to the Arkansas Department of Health two-thirds of Arkansans are either overweight or obese ((“Arkansas Department Of Health”, 2011). Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, Type II diabetes and other chronic diseases. It is cultural and to some extent hereditary. Urgent intervention is needed through education and activity opportunities to reduce the rate of obesity before it affects the next generation of Arkansans. The mother/wife of the subject family is obese and the father/husband is overweight. The subjects’ child is of appropriate weight at this time. Conclusion
At first blush, Parkhill appears to be a pleasant, diverse community. It is eclectic and socioeconomically diverse with access to outdoor activities but is encapsulated by bordering high-speed thoroughfares and interstates. The general population I observed appear happy, well nourished, housed and friendly. According to one shop owner, the community is actively trying to “problem solve”, (personal communication, April 2, 2015). He cites an active neighborhood association as well as merchants association who are currently working together to reduce the speed of traffic on JFK Boulevard, and solicit restaurants, a pharmacy and grocer to the area, (D. E. Larson, personal communication, April 2, 2015). He reports that a “high level of wellness”, (personal communication, April 2, 2015), is also on the agenda for community improvements. I am excited to begin work with the subject family and learn more about this community.
Arkansas Department of Health. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/chronicDisease/Pages/Obesity.aspx 2011 Obesity Prevention CDC Centers for disease control and prevention. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/about.htm Healthy people 2020. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-LHI-Topics MacQueen, K. M., McLellan, E., Metzger, D. S., Kegeles, S., Strauss, R. P., Scotti, R., Trotter, R. T. (2001). What Is Community? An Evidence-Based Definition for Participatory Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(12), 1929–1938.