Shaping Elizabeth World Café

NJHI 2015: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action Shaping Elizabeth Community Health Initiative

Shaping Elizabeth team members discussed two relevant topics at our first “World Café” in January. For those of you unfamiliar, a “World Café” is a model of conversation designed to engage people in meaningful dialogue where everyone is heard.

The questions posed to the group included:
What is Health Disparity, and how has it manifested in your work?

What are the root causes of food insecurity? What is our organization doing, or could be doing, to combat this as a health disparity?

The “World Café” prompted lively discussion on each topic, including these thoughts and ideas:

Regarding Health Disparities
Health disparities in the community are highest among undocumented immigrants who are afraid of deportation and don’t want the government to “find” them based on receipt of social services. Also, a high rate of individuals are still uninsured and lack understanding on available health care and services. Another “World Café” participant noted that there are many differences in health outcomes based on ethnicity, income, geographic location, gender and citizenship. We also heard the observation that most residents are still seeing a doctor as “reactive care, not preventive care,” and that in Elizabeth, “health is wealth.”

Regarding Food Insecurity
Some root causes of food insecurity are language barriers and a lack of options. Strained household finances, as well as issues with access to reliable transportation also contribute to food insecurity in Elizabeth. Educating residents on ways to prepare healthy meals and how to cook from scratch are small steps worth considering in building a healthier community.

At our March meeting we’ll continue the “World Café” discussions. Team members felt that the conversations were enlightening and also helped participants get to know each other better — one of our overarching goals. Learn more about the “World Café” method here

Also shared were Shaping Elizabeth 2016 accomplishments.  Watch this video to learn more about what we have been doing.

Photo: World Cafe Discussion: Shaping Elizabeth, January 2017


Alane McCahey
The Gateway Family YMCA