Building community capacity for agricultural injury prevention in a Navajo community

Deborah Helitzer, Cathleen E. Willging, Gary Hathorn, Jeannie Benally

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

7 Scopus citations


This article describes the process of building community capacity to plan, implement, and evaluate culturally appropriate agricultural injury prevention programs on the Navajo Nation. Navajo farmers and ranchers, the community stakeholders in this model program, experience significantly greater farm-related occupational mortality compared to other ethnic groups in the southwestern U.S. In this population, effective agricultural injury prevention projects designed to change livestock and pesticide handling practices are likely to reduce agricultural-related injuries and deaths. Community-based organizations and community members may benefit from training to develop the capacity to undertake systematic planning and evaluation. Using a community-based participatory research approach that addressed the need for such training, a stakeholder group consisting of university faculty and community members implemented a sequential planning process that incorporated scientific principles and activities. Over five years, community stakeholders identified criteria to define capacity improvement and then proceeded to implement activities to enhance their ability to develop, implement, and evaluate agricultural injury prevention projects. Specifically, stakeholders developed, translated, and administered a baseline survey of agricultural practices among Navajo farmers and ranchers, used survey results to design two agricultural safety projects, and implemented and evaluated the interventions. The results of the evaluation of capacity building suggest that the project was successful. This project may serve as an innovative model for increasing community involvement in the development of agricultural injury prevention interventions with underserved populations where mortality and morbidity are high, and strategies for prevention have either not been effective or adequately studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages17
Specialist publicationJournal of Agricultural Safety and Health
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural injury prevention
  • Behavior change theory
  • Community capacity
  • Planning and evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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