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Committee Chair: Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University

Preceptor: Lisa Della Badia, MS, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania


In 2012, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health released a report of the number of sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases by ZIP code. Southwest Philadelphia’s 19143 ZIP code was reported to have the highest cases of STIs, but its neighboring ZIP codes (19142 and 19153) reported significantly lower cases. Studies have shown positive associations between neighborhood factors – crime, violence, and neighborhood satisfaction – and chlamydia and gonorrhea rates. This study took a different approach through exploratory research efforts at the community level, and explored community members’ perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge of these neighborhood factors and the possible link to rates of STIs. Qualitative methods were utilized through in-depth interviews with twelve community members, which included 4 adolescent residents (15-24 years old), 4 adult residents (25+ years old), and 4 community stakeholders from the 19143 ZIP code. Adolescent and adult residents were recruited through flyers posted at two community health centers and community stakeholders were approached by the researcher. The interview was divided into four topics that included questions regarding the neighborhood, STIs, neighborhood factors, and other thoughts. The participants completed a de-identified demographics survey and all interviews were audio recorded. The interviews were transcribed and the research team summarized the participant’s thoughts from each interview category, organized them on an excel spreadsheet, and collectively agreed upon the findings. The participants identified links between neighborhood factors and rates of STIs through criminal and violent acts. In addition, this study found a commonality surrounding dissatisfaction with the neighborhood as well as the breakdown of family structure having links to rates of STIs. Perceptions from community members add critical and significant information in addressing community-specific needs and can provide insight into potential ways to modify, sustain, and create health promotion efforts.

Presentation: 32 minutes