240168 Organizing to encourage active living through policy and infrastructure change: The role of flexible funding and responsive technical assistance

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:50 AM

Katherine Bass, MPH , Center for Prevention, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Eagan, MN
Julia Heany, PhD , Center for Healthy Communities, Michigan Public Health Institute, Okemos, MI
Jessie Jones, MPA , Center for Healthy Communities, Michigan Public Health Institute, Okemos, MI
Tristen Anthony , Center for Healthy Communities, Michigan Public Health Institute, Okemos, MI
Introduction- This presentation explores the design and outcomes of an initiative promoting daily physical activity through policy and infrastructure change. It will focus on the role of the initiative's design in developing engaged, mobilized, and effective community partnerships around active living.

Methods- The initiative includes eight communities that engaged a broad group of stakeholders to form partnerships to plan and implement strategies encouraging physical activity in daily living. Using a flexible funding model supporting planning and implementation, the initiative is designed to provide grantees with support and technical assistance to assess community needs and develop community-specific strategies for encouraging active living. Strategies are based on the five P's of active living: Preparation, Promotions, Programs, Policy Influence, and Physical Projects. Evaluation methods include qualitative and quantitative measures of process and outcomes. Data regarding the development and mobilization of community partnerships include interviews with each community lead, document collection and analysis, and partnership member surveys.

Results- Evaluation results suggest that participating communities have established broad-based, engaged, and effective partnerships, and that flexible funding and dynamic technical assistance have supported: Adopting regional Complete Streets resolutions, Active Living policies, and Comprehensive Plan updates; buy-in among community leaders and stakeholders from multiple sectors; infrastructure improvements including trail development, sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks; and additional funding.

Discussion- Evaluation results suggest that this initiative's structure, including the funding and technical assistance model, has facilitated partnership development and engagement in grantee communities, and accelerated progress toward policy, systems, and environmental changes supporting active living.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the role of the initiative’s funding strategy, which pairs flexibility with a proactive technical assistance model, in driving a community-owned, organic change process. 2. Discuss the journey of one participating community, including their partnership’s role in driving change and the types of technical assistance that were most critical to their progress. 3. Evaluate the emerging outcomes of the initiative, including the most effective strategies for building a partnership that can drive policy and infrastructure changes promoting active living.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the project leader for the evaluation which is the topic of the presentation. I also have extensive experience in the evaluation of programs promoting active living, improved nutrition, reduced overweight/obesity, and other public health-related topics.
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.