Hepatitis A and Homelessness in San Diego – #Action4HealthSD

In September 2017, San Diego County declared a local health emergency in response to a Hepatitis A (HepA) outbreak, a crisis that was largely attributed to the growing homeless population. Efforts put forth by the county to mitigate the outbreak focused on controlling modes of disease transmission, including pop-up vaccination clinics, street sanitation, and construction of tent cities. Many of these interventions, however, were implemented with little to no input from those experiencing homelessness, including a particularly vulnerable population, 18 to 24 year olds experiencing homelessness, or “transitional age youth” (TAY).

The present community based participatory research project aimed to examine how the HepA outbreak and associated interventions impacted the health and well-being of TAY experiencing homelessness. Individual interviews with key stakeholders (e.g., social service providers) and participatory methods, including asset mapping and photo elicitation and critical discussion (“Photovoice”), gathered narratives from TAY currently or formerly experiencing homelessness. These multiple data sources were integrated and analyzed to identify key themes and subsequent recommendations to inform next steps for identifying solutions.

Check out a report of our findings below: