Collaborations in Health Promotion in Tabriz, Iran

Goal: The goal of this project is to foster collaborative ties between health researchers in Iran and the US.  The project has four components.  The first component focuses on developing and evaluating community-based approaches to outpatient diabetes management.  The second project focuses on abating arsenic contamination in local water supplies.  The third project addresses issues in women’s health, focusing in particular on community-based approaches to improving quality of life for women going through menopause.  The fourth component provides trainings in global health leadership and conflict resolution to staff at the National Public Health Management Center.  This research is being conducted in collaboration with Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (TUMS).

Arsenic in water: Many localities in the northwestern Iran have identified problems of high concentration of Arsenic in potable water or other water resources.  It has been assumed that the contamination is natural in the area, since there is no reason to suspect an alternative source of the contamination.  Possible exposures have been studied among representative populations from a number of NW Iranian states.  The problem from the Public Health point of view remains unchanged since the exposure to Arsenic is a continuous problem.  The purpose of the project is to collect data to make the best decision about next steps to abate the problem in these communities.

Women’s health – menopause: The primary goal of this research is to identify effective community-based participatory methods to promote quality of life in menopausal women.  The objectives of the project are: 1) To develop and implement a community-based participatory research strategy in selected communities; 2) To assess the effects of the community-based program on QOL in menopausal women, through pre-post ad non-intervention community comparisons; and 3) To assess the effects of community-based participation itself separately.

Community-based Outpatient Diabetes Management: The aim of this study is to examine the effects of a community-based outpatient hospital health promotion service on maintaining and improving patients’ Quality of Life among diabetes patients and their families in East Azerbaijan, Iran.  The specific objectives are: To study the effect of providing appropriate treatment services plus health promoting educational packages during and after the initial hospitalization period on quality of life of study groups; and, To design a model for Community Based- Patient Education Network (CB-PEN) to control and manage chronic disease (Diabetes).  The study population consist of all patients with Diabetes and their families that use diagnostic and treatment services of the experimental hospital, Imam Hospital (the general and biggest hospital in the province) and Sina Hospital, the comparative reference group.
Leadership & conflict resolution workshops:  The goal of this component of our project is to enable managers and directors to successfully implement processes to enhance staffs’ understanding of the purpose of organizational mandates, goal and their logics, in order to increase the likelihood of positive outcome for policy implementation at the organizational level, and to provide tools necessary for effective leadership in organizations. The fundamental premise of this negotiation training is based on the belief that being an effective negotiator is a core component of being an effective advocate and competent leader. Effective negotiators must have good relational (interpersonal) skills, the ability to communicate clearly and to make decisions in a fair manner.  A second series of workshops focuses on teaching the participants skills and approaches that they can utilize to empower their position in pursuing goals and obtaining resources for successful implementation of public health projects in their region.  The basic goal is to enable health directors to present the importance of their ideas and proposals when national or regional decisions are being made.  A third series addresses Community Participation in Public Health Management:  Participants learn about guiding principles, effective approaches and processes to identify resources needed by and the strengths and weaknesses of different processes to encourage public participation in research or policy development and implementation processes in public health.

Principals: This projects is being directed by Dr. Reza Vahidi, Director of National Public Health Management Center, in association with his colleagues, Ms. Sevil Hakimi, MSc, in Midwifery, Maternity and Child Health; Dr. Kazem Ashjaei at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, and Ms. Nazila Tajaddini.  At UMass, co-investigators include: Dr. Lynette Leidy Sievert, Department of Anthropology; Dr. Aline Gubrium, Community Health Education; Dr. David Reckhow, Engineering;  Dr. Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, Health policy & Management.