Community Asset Mapping members
By Anthony Fleg, MD, MPH

Promoting the Positives

Community Asset Mapping Reveals Hidden Strengths to Promote Health & Well-Being

Community Asset Mapping membersThe room felt a bit different than a typical University of New Mexico Health Sciences classroom.

Chairs were arranged in a large circle to facilitate discussion and to convey the idea that everyone in the room was both learner and teacher.

The Community Asset Mapping training hosted recently by the UNM Health Sciences Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OfDEI) in coordination with the Native Health Initiative (NHI) and the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, was not focused on disease. Instead, it looked at what individuals and communities do well and how to use these to improve health.

The session’s facilitators were younger than the participants. They included Anani Shamour, an Indigenous youth who graduated high school in May, and Taryn Penny, a rising sophomore at Howard University. Both are summer staff for NHI, a group that has promoted asset mapping around the city in the past several years.

The groups hosting the workshop hope to inspire more strength-based interventions in clinical and community settings. Participants came from diverse groups, including local non-profit organizations, the UNM Office for Community Health, and the New Mexico Department of Health.

“I don’t think we can talk about undoing systemic racism without moving to a strength-based way of doing health and healing,” said Anthony Fleg, MD, MPH, associate professor in the UNM Department of Family & Community Medicine.

Fleg, who helped coordinate the training in his role as the director of Community Wellness for OfDEI, noted that most of his training in medicine was purely based on recognizing deficits and diseases.

The June 10 training ended with a tour of artwork created by Zuni painter Mallery Quetawki, resident artist for the UNM College of Pharmacy. It illustrated how the asset of art and Indigenous culture can help communicate complex scientific concepts like uranium’s effect on DNA repair.

If you are interested in learning more about asset mapping and for info on upcoming trainings, please contact Dr. Anthony Fleg.

Categories: Community Engagement, Diversity, Health, Top Stories