I chose to write a post about this article for a few different reasons. One of the reasons is that the Healthy Village Model of community health and community development which this piece highlights is an approach that values and emphasizes using local/indigenous traditions, knowledge, and structures in designing interventions. This approach avoids assuming that Western knowledge or the dominant culture holds all the answers to all the challenges faced by people leaving in poverty or experiencing other types of life crises. This is something that is important to keep in mind when we try to address issues of public health and social justice in marginalized communities, so that their cultural identity is not disregarded or disrespected.
I also see a lot of connections between what this article talks about and things that are related to our class. The people in the communities that have been targeted by these interventions mentioned in the article, those living on Indian reservations and in Marin City especially, are primarily people of racial minorities who have suffered from great systemic injustices in our country, and most of these people are also living in poverty. Race and socio-economic status—two things that often affect one’s health. The Healthy Village Model also fits nicely with the field of public health, as it has a very holistic understanding of health. Both look beyond just medical care and expand the idea of health to include employment, adequate housing, clean air and water, environmental sustainability, access to healthy foods, etc.
I also think this article raises important questions similar to what we discussed in class about what defines community. It states in the article, and gives more specific statistics in the embedded video, that there are extreme disparities in disability status, income level, and employment, among others, between Marin City and the rest of Marin County. What important things would be overlooked if we just looked at the population of Marin County as a whole and did not look at Marin City separately? Although Marin City occupies the same geographic space as Marin County, do the people of Marin City consider themselves part of a Marin County community? And would the other residents of Marin County be willing to include the much poorer residents of Marin City in their vision of community?