Introduction to the Community
Darby Township’s (DT) history dates back to 1683 (Township of Darby, 2016, para. 1). One of the peculiar things about modern DT is that it is geographically divided into two parts (see fig. 1), the communities of which have been developing differently (Township of Darby, 2016, para. 2). As a result, I chose one of the communities: my windshield survey was aimed at the lower part, and it also involved a part of Southwest Philadelphia since the communities are not very strictly divided (see fig. 1). The survey was carried out to assess the needs of the community and determine its vulnerable population with particular attention paid to the issue of high blood pressure.
The survey was carried out with the help of the tips suggested by Stanhope and Lancaster (2016, p. 420), which identified the elements of the community’s life that I sought to find and describe. The houses in the area are predominantly small, one- or two-storey constructions (see fig. 2, fig. 3); three-storey ones are rare (see fig. 4). The dwellers of the regions apparently can afford cars. The housing looks solid in the majority of cases, but occasionally rather deteriorated houses can be encountered (see fig. 2, fig. 3). The area does not seem to be excessively littered; I did not encounter cases of violence, and I saw no animals without their owners. I have encountered several stores, including one with pharmaceuticals, and a Good Neighbor Senior Center. There are churches in the area, for example, the First African Baptist Church (see fig. 5). Concerning recreation, the community has cafeterias and bars (see fig. 2).
The African-American and White populations are the predominant ones in the area. Concerning the visible habits, smoking appears to be widespread in the community. Smoking is dangerous for people’s heath in several ways, and it can lead to cardiovascular diseases (Go et al., 2013); also, it is an economic burden for smokers and their families (Levine, 2007).
Vulnerable Population and Its Demographics
The U.S. Census Bureau (n.d.) provides the data on the 2010 census, according to which the percentage of African American population in both DTs amounted to almost 40% in 2010 (see Table 1). Unfortunately, the census data is united for the two parts of Darby, which makes it more difficult to state the percentage of different ethnicities in the studied area. Figure 6 shows that the population of DT cannot be described as wealthy. This information supports the results of the windshield survey. Therefore, the vulnerable population of the area is the low-income African American people who also include women and elder people. All the mentioned characteristics tend to lead to certain disparities with respect to healthcare. For example, African Americans have a notoriously high level of hypertension prevalence that amounts to 44% in adults and is the highest in the world (Go et al., 2013). At the same time, the differences between White and Black people from the point of view of the preventive and other healthcare services use are also very stark (Albert et al., 2014), with cardiovascular procedures being a less likely event for Black people when compared to the White population. As a result, steps must be taken to address this disparity and help to improve the life of the community.
|Table 1 |
2010 Census Data for Darby Township, PA. Source: U.S. Census Bureau (n.d.)
|Ethnicity||Darby Township, PA|
|Some Other Race||41|
|Two or more Races||205|
Unfortunately, the survey cannot provide certain details on the population. For example, I cannot insist that the area has a low level of obesity just because I did not see many obese people, especially since there is data that testifies to high obesity incidence among African Americans, particularly young girls (Go et al., 2013). However, the patently existing strengths of the community include the Good Neighbor Senior Center that works to improve the lives of senior citizens, the churches that typically tend to unite people in communities and hold authority over them, which has already been employed in programs like the Faith-based Approaches in the Treatment of Hypertension (Lancaster et al., 2014), and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge that can offer hiking opportunities, even though it is not directly in the area. Also, while this aspect is likely to require improvement, the existence of some healthcare-related facilities (the pharmaceuticals store) is a plus.
The present windshield survey (together with regular research) helped to develop a nursing assessment of the community with certain conclusions. First of all, DT has a vulnerable group from the point of view of high blood pressure and other healthcare disparities, which also constitutes up to 40% of its population: African Americans with relatively low income. Fortunately, there are certain strengths in the community that include Good Neighbor Senior Center, churches, National Wildlife Refuge, and the presence of healthcare-related facilities. They can be used to reduce disparities and promote the health of the vulnerable group, which is also important for the community in general (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016).
Albert, M., Ayanian, J., Silbaugh, T., Lovett, A., Resnic, F., Jacobs, A., & Normand, S. (2014). Early Results of Massachusetts Healthcare Reform on Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Disparities in Cardiovascular Care. Circulation, 129(24), 2528-2538. Web.
Go, A. S., Mozaffarian, D., Roger, V. L., Benjamin, E. J., Berry, J. D., Borden, W. B.,… & Franco, S. (2013). Executive Summary: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2013 Update. Circulation, 127(1), 143-152. Web.
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Keefe, J., Ma, L., Amico, C., & Melendez, S. (n.d.). WNYC median income across the US: 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Web.
Lancaster, K. J., Schoenthaler, A. M., Midberry, S. A., Watts, S. O., Nulty, M. R., Cole, H. V.,… & Ogedegbe, G. (2014). Rationale and design of Faith-based Approaches in the Treatment of Hypertension (FAITH), a lifestyle intervention targeting blood pressure control among black church members. American heart journal, 167(3), 301-307. Web.
Levine, R. (2007). Case studies in global health: Millions saved. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2016). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Township of Darby. (2016). History. Web.
U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). 2010 Census Interactive Map. Web.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). Global health. Web.