201538 Small Group Discussion -- PUFFA: Using community-based participatory approaches to inform policy and system changes for food systems and active living

Saturday, November 7, 2009: 2:41 PM

Jerry C. Johnson, MD , School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Title of your presentation: PUFFA: Using community-based participatory approaches to inform policy and system changes for food systems and active living

Name of Academic Partner: University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Name of Community Partner: Health Promotion Council, Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition

Brief Description of the Project

The Philadelphia Food and Fitness Alliance (PUFFA) is a grantee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Fitness National Initiative and aims to create vibrant communities that support equitable access to affordable, locally grown, healthy food and safe and inviting places for physical activity. In 2007, the Kellogg Foundation identified nine communities to become models of change; Philadelphia was one of nine communities across the country to receive a 2.5-year planning grant. PUFFA's two main goals are to:

1. Create a collaborative that includes individuals and organizations reflecting the racial, ethnic, and economic diversity of our city and includes youth and adult leadership.

2. Develop a comprehensive Community Action Plan that assures that availability and access to affordable, healthy, locally-grown food, safe parks and recreation centers are equitable across all of Philadelphia.

Stages and/or steps the partnership has taken towards moving to policy changes in your community (local, state, etc.)

PUFFA conducted a comprehensive assessment to ascertain the community's attitudes, behaviors, barriers and preferences related to access to healthy, affordable food and safe places for physical activity. The Evaluation Team- consisting of community and academic members- developed multiple assessment strategies designed to engage youth and community in the process. In addition to a comprehensive assessment, PUFFA also conducted a policy and environmental scan. Prioritizations tools and audience voting mechanisms were used to make systems and policies selections. More specifically:

Community assessments

A community based organization in each of four targeted neighborhoods recruited and supervised youth and community members during the community preference evaluation activities. Youth and adult community members conducted various evaluation activities. Findings will be shared with the broader community to make selections on broad-based systems related to food and active living.

Policy/environmental scan assessment

PUFFA's Policy consultant (a PARCC member and UPENN Researcher) corroborated documents on policy, environmental, and systems change proposals and initiatives collected by the PUFFA partners and merged with additional information in order to provide PUFFA with a comprehensive set of policy, environmental, and systems options. The consultant then mapped each option into the various fitness (i.e. community design, active transportation, recreation/parks, schools, others) and food (i.e. producing, processing, distributing, retailing, preparing, and eating) domains. This mapping helped to facilitate discussions about policy options, which helps PUFFA make informed decisions when selecting a set of policies that Philadelphia will address in its 8-year Community Action Plan.

Lessons Learned:

Presenting data and assessment findings in order to create a participatory selection process on broad-base systems and targeted policies requires that information must be presented in stages in order to allow partners to understand the information and make informed decisions. PUFFA used a process that first ascertained community preferences, readiness, and neighborhood assessment findings for the purpose of focusing on the community's needs, strengths and gaps. Those findings guided the policy scan whereby selections on broad-based systems (such as schools, parks, recreations centers, corner stores, etc) were selected. It is extremely important to develop a process that is agreeable by all and then organize complex findings in manageable parts to promote and maintain open communication and comprehension.

Learning Objectives: Participants will learn:

The process of identifying and selecting broad-based policies and system change efforts in order to write a Community Action Plan.

How to focus your policy scan so that identified policies overlap with community needs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss CBPR principles in conducting research with local departments of health; 2. Evaluate policy scans so that identified policies overlap with community needs 3. Discuss how participatory analytic strategies can be used to translate CBPR related work into policy recommendations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a key faculty member and have provided leadership for the 1o years in developing a community-academic partnership.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.