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Press Release

Health Services Celebration Features: Student "Photovoice" Exhibit

June 8, 2004

Vivid photographs of Pittsburg scenery and neighborhoods taken by Pittsburg High School students will be displayed on June 17 as part of a community celebration hosted by the Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs (FMCH) of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS).

The photos are part of a Community Health Assessment that FMCH Programs has been working on with a broad spectrum of local partners in recent months.

"We had many contributors to the current assessment, but none were more creative than the Pittsburg students," said Dr. Cheri Pies, Director of FMCH Programs. "I know that representatives of the many health service providers and community-based organizations who also participated in this assessment will find the "Picture This" photo exhibit quite inspiring."

Dr. Pies said the method used for Picture This is called "Photovoice" and has been used by CCHS and other agencies before to illustrate issues such as equal access to health care and of homelessness. In a Photovoice Project, she explained, stakeholders are given disposable cameras and encouraged to document the conditions of their lives with photos and captions that they write.

One 16-year-old Pittsburg High student, Brandon Jensen, photographed a fast food court and wrote, "It is important to have healthy, affordable, places to dine in a community, instead of fast food alleys - The builders of fast food alleys need to realize that the people do not only want fast food restaurants, but also a good selection of dining restaurants that will attract a lot more business for the builders."

"Students can be very outspoken, and this was a new type of communication for most of them," said Dr. Pies. "FMCH Programs does a Community Health Assessment every five years as required by federal and state funding, and 'Picture This' makes this one of our most interesting assessments ever. That's one reason for the celebration."

The event is planned for 4 - 6 p.m. June 17 at 2425 Bisso Lane in Concord. Light refreshments will be served.

The new assessment, which is currently being compiled, uses both quantitative and qualitative information to address seven priority health issues for women, children and adolescents: substance abuse, especially during pregnancy; mental health, including domestic violence; adolescent health; oral health; access to health care and coverage; nutrition for pregnant women, adolescents and children; and disparities in birth outcomes like infant mortality, for different ethnic groups.

"The assessment benefits from input from health care providers such as Kaiser Permanente, Brookside Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood and La Clinica de la Raza; educational institutions such as Pittsburg High School and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District; and community groups such as STAND! Against Domestic Violence and the Child Care Council," said Padmini Parthasarathy, a health educator with FMCH Programs. "Focus groups conducted with pregnant and parenting women were also very instructive."

For more information about the celebration and FMCH Programs' Community Health Assessment, call Padmini Parthasarathy at 925-313-6178 or email

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Press Contact
  • Cheri Pies
  • 925-313-6254