Initial Assessment of a Forgotten Minority Community
Key Informant's Perceptions of Environmental Health in Fresno, Texas
AbstractBackground. Environmental hazards are increasingly being detected in minority and low-income communities. The Fresno, Texas community is located near Houston, Texas, and many of its residents are ethnic minorities and of low socioeconomic status. While Fresno residents have voiced concerns about long-standing undocumented environmental hazards, the extent to which the concerns were accurate was unclear. As an initial assessment of environmental exposure hazards, key informant interviews of residents and officials were conducted to examine the perceptions of environmental exposures and associated health effects in the Fresno community. Results. The responses about perceived environmental exposures and the extent of access to primary healthcare were similar between residents and officials. The key informants identified inadequate public water supply and possible groundwater contamination as sources of potential environmental exposures and agreed that access to primary healthcare was a major problem in the Fresno area. However, Fresno residents and officials had contrasting perceptions about the overall health of the community, the existence of community-based organizations, strengths and barriers of the community, and how well environmental concerns were addressed. Methods. Qualitative methodology was used to conduct key informant interviews of seven residents and five elected or assigned officials who serve residents of Fresno. An interview guide designed to obtain information on potential environmental hazards and associated health effects was utilized to collect qualitative data that were then utilized to identify recurrent themes and dissimilarities of responses. Conclusions. The responses obtained in this study suggest that potential environmental exposures may be present in this community. However, although residents and officials identified access to primary healthcare as a barrier to residing in Fresno, residents and officials had differing perceptions of the overall heath status of the Fresno community. These findings must be further investigated to develop additional qualitative and quantitative studies that will validate the preliminary findings of this study and begin to accurately measure contaminant levels and health status in Fresno residents.
How to Cite
King, D. W., Hernández-Valero, M. A., Chukelu, P. C., & Jones, L. A. (2006). Initial Assessment of a Forgotten Minority Community: Key Informant’s Perceptions of Environmental Health in Fresno, Texas. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4(1), 22-31. https://doi.org/10.32398/cjhp.v4i1.729