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Expanding the Reach of Health Campaigns: Can Community Organizations Serve as Viable Channels of Health Information?
Unformatted Document Text:  Expanding the Reach 3 In this paper, we provide a rationale for and test the proposition that the use of community organizations as disseminators of health information can lead to positive health outcomes. In order to do so, we will rely on Putnam’s (2000) idea of social capital and we will draw from extant literature on organizational communication. The research questions we raise about the role of community organizations in the context of a health campaign will be addressed through a secondary analysis of data from the Stanford Five-City Project (FCP), a long-term public health intervention to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in California (Farquhar et al., 1985). Social Capital Putnam (2000) defines social capital as “connections among individuals—social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (p. 19). Social capital has been used to explain a wide variety of changes occurring in society, but its primary and predominant focus has been to explain a negative trend: that American’s participation in community organizations has been displaced by their increasing use of television (Putnam, 1995). Other researchers have used social capital to understand how social institutions can act as agents of change. Krishna (2002), for example, conducted a longitudinal study of 69 village communities in India and found that social capital was particularly important to understand how social institutions can help connect individual communities with the government. Social capital has also been applied in other contexts. Simmie (1998) interviewed all the organizations in the United Kingdom that won prestigious innovation awards between 1985 and 1995 (N = 51) and determined that, among other factors, social capital played an important role in driving innovations.

Authors: Stephens, Keri., Rimal, Rajiv. and Flora, June.
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Expanding the Reach 3
In this paper, we provide a rationale for and test the proposition that the use of
community organizations as disseminators of health information can lead to positive health
outcomes. In order to do so, we will rely on Putnam’s (2000) idea of social capital and we will
draw from extant literature on organizational communication. The research questions we raise
about the role of community organizations in the context of a health campaign will be addressed
through a secondary analysis of data from the Stanford Five-City Project (FCP), a long-term
public health intervention to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in California
(Farquhar et al., 1985).
Social Capital
Putnam (2000) defines social capital as “connections among individuals—social
networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (p. 19). Social
capital has been used to explain a wide variety of changes occurring in society, but its primary
and predominant focus has been to explain a negative trend: that American’s participation in
community organizations has been displaced by their increasing use of television (Putnam,
1995). Other researchers have used social capital to understand how social institutions can act as
agents of change. Krishna (2002), for example, conducted a longitudinal study of 69 village
communities in India and found that social capital was particularly important to understand how
social institutions can help connect individual communities with the government. Social capital
has also been applied in other contexts. Simmie (1998) interviewed all the organizations in the
United Kingdom that won prestigious innovation awards between 1985 and 1995 (N = 51) and
determined that, among other factors, social capital played an important role in driving
innovations.


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