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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation After School Project (ASP): Lessons Learned for Community-based Youth Health Promotion

Michael J. Stoil, PhD and Gary A. Hill, PhD. Health and Human Services Group, Conwal Division, 6858 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA 22101, 7034482300, mstoil@conwal.com

In 1998, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiated a $20 million After School Project (ASP) to study city-wide after school initiatives. The specific goal of the project was to assess the feasibility of a city-wide centralized planning effort to connect at-risk youth in adult-led programs after school, that in turn would reduce the risk for traumatic injury, address childhood obesity and other risk factors, and promote physical activity and healthy youth development. ASP's prescribed approach included:

Designate an initial planning entity; Plan extensively (18 months); Assemble and engage a Task Force of civic leaders; Conduct comprehensive needs assessment.

Cross-site comparisons between three community-wide initiatives supported by the Foundation and two publicly-funded initiatives identified patterns and themes regarding relationships between community conditions, operations, and outcomes.

After five years, neighborhoods targeted for rapid change, rates of occasional after-school participation exceeded 70%, but evaluators found wide variation among the cities in frequent participation, and in political and community support for the enterprise.

Lessons learned from ASP are broadly applicable to other city-wide initiatives and are somewhat counter-intuitive in terms of the benefits of a discrete planning phase, a conventional needs assessment, and the role and composition of the community task force. Most importantly, the cross-site comparison identified liabilities of housing the city-wide initiative within an existing public sector agency.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Public/Private Partnerships, Urban Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Community-based Approaches to Public Health Management and Practice

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA