158861 How building social capital creates momentum for policy change: Findings from Oakland, California

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 1:00 PM

Mia Luluquisen, DrPH, MPH, RN , Public Health Department, Alameda County, Oakland, CA
Tammy Lee, MPH , Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland, CA
Liz Maker, DrPH , Public Health Department, Alameda County, Oakland, CA
The Oakland City-County Neighborhoods Initiative was formed as a partnership between the Alameda County Public Health Department, City of Oakland, and a broad range of community-based organizations and neighborhood resident groups. Using a community resident engagement approach, public health and city agency staff work closely with groups of residents to increase their social, economic and political power. Since research has demonstrated the correlation between social capital and neighborhood health and safety, building social capital among community residents has been an important implementation strategy. The initiative's long-term goal is to fight health inequities in two low-income areas of Oakland, California. The evaluation design defines social capital as “characteristics of communities stemming from the structure of social relationships that facilitate the achievement of individuals' shared goals” (Smedley and Syme, 2000). Evaluators have tracked the development of social capital at baseline and throughout the intervention using qualitative and quantitative methods, including one-on-one interviews with stakeholders, and community-wide surveys. Social capital measures are used from the public health and social science literature. Evaluation findings of progress over the past 3 years indicate that three types of social capital have been built: 1) bonding relationships between immediate family members, neighbors, and close friends; 2) bridging relationships with people who are from different family and peer groups; and 3) linking relationships between individuals and those in higher positions of influence outside of the community. Interestingly, community members have influenced city and county level policymakers to make policy changes, particularly related to street safety and neighborhood parks.

Learning Objectives:
Describe three types of social capital Identify two ways that residents can leverage social capital to influence local policy

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.