PHOTOVOICE EXHIBITION OPENING FEBRUARY 6 AT MAT-SU HEALTH FOUNDATION BUILDING
Wasilla, AK — The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is hosting a photovoice exhibition on Thursday, February 6 from 4 – 7 pm. Photovoice is a form of participatory action research that enables community members to take a leading role collecting, analyzing, and reporting data. Using this process, groups of people come together to take pictures that answer specific questions. In this case, MSHF asked project participants to identify factors that promote health in the community, and also ones that hinder it. The photovoice project was part of the foundation’s recently completed Community Health Needs Assessment; 11 community groups participated in photovoice, producing several hundred photos.
The Mat-Su Health Foundation started the photovoice project because traditional methodology used in previous assessments, such as Census and survey data and community meetings, were not adequately capturing the voices of all Mat-Su residents. Voices of people such as youth, those without telephones, those who don’t trust traditional systems, including government, and those who speak English as a second language or are recent immigrants and refugees were not being heard.
“Photovoice is unique way to hear every voice in the community,” said Mat-Su Health Foundation CEO Elizabeth Ripley. “It is a way to highlight strengths, assets, weaknesses, issues and barriers in each participant’s life, environment and community.”
The groups that participated in this project were Chickaloon Traditional Council (three groups: Elders, Women and Tribal Citizens)); Kabayan Inc (Filipino Community); Knik Tribe; Latinx Residents; Mat-Su Health Services: Parents With Purpose (CCS Early Learning); People of a Certain Age (older residents); Williwaw Community Residents, and the Youth Leadership Council of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su.
The photovoice project will be on display at the Mat-Su Health Foundation building at 777 N. Crusey St. in Wasilla through the end of February. It is free and open to the public.
Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital to protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution. The MSHF mission is to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in the Mat-Su and the tools it uses include grantmaking, convening of local partners, and policy change. The foundation’s work has resulted in significant improvements in systems that support the health of Mat-Su residents in areas such as behavioral health, child welfare, crisis response, community connections, workforce development, transportation, housing, and senior services. More information is available at healthymatsu.org .