Empowering Communities Through Photography

Researcher gives people a way to understand health choices using “photovoice” images.

Read the full story, published by the Geisel School of Medicine.

For the past seven years, Geisel researcher Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, PhD TDI ’02, has been putting cameras in the hands of people of all ages to share their point of view—whether to reveal middle school students’ approaches to healthy eating, high school students’ ideas about healthy sleep patterns, or older adults’ experiences about physical activity— through a process called photovoice.

Using photovoice to measure human behavior and related health outcomes, her multidisciplinary studies focus on understanding how a rural community’s infrastructure contributes to health behaviors.

Photovoice relies on the power of images to spark conversation and community empowerment. With research-specific questions in mind, study participants are asked to consider those questions while documenting their lives and describe in their own words what they photographed and why. Through collaboratively discussing the photographs, the narratives can be further developed to help policymakers craft solutions that address critical community needs.