Multi-level intervention to prevent influenza infections in older low income and minority adults

Am J Community Psychol. 2009 Jun;43(3-4):313-29. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9235-y.


In this paper we describe a successful multi-level participatory intervention grounded in principles of individual and group empowerment, and guided by social construction theory. The intervention addressed known and persistent inequities in influenza vaccination among African American and Latino older adults, and associated infections, hospitalizations and mortality. It was designed to increase resident ability to make informed decisions about vaccination, and to build internal and external infrastructure to support sustainability over time. The intervention brought a group of social scientists, vaccine researchers, geriatricians, public health nurses, elder services providers and advocates together with senior housing management and activist African American and Latino residents living in public senior housing in a small east coast city. Two buildings of equal size and similar ethnic composition were randomized as intervention and control buildings. Pre and post intervention surveys were conducted in both buildings, measuring knowledge, attitudes and peer norms. Processes and outcomes were documented at four levels: Influenza Strategic Alliance (macro and exo levels), building management (meso level), building resident committee (meso level) and individual residents. The Influenza Strategic Alliance (I.S.A.) provided ongoing resources, information and vaccine; the building management provided economic and other in-kind resources and supported residents to continue flu clinics in the building. The V.I.P. Resident Committee conducted flu campaigns with flu clinics in English and Spanish. The vaccination rate in the intervention building at post test exceeded the study goal of 70% and showed a significant improvement over the control building. The intervention achieved desired outcomes at all four levels and resulted in a significant increase in influenza vaccination, and improvements in pro-vaccination knowledge, beliefs, and understanding of health consequences.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / ethnology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*


  • Influenza Vaccines