244758 Creating a Local Community Picture to Inform Policy Development: A Journey towards a Healthy Community in Canada

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheryl Vamos, PhD, MPH , Brant County Health Unit, Brantford, ON, Canada
Erica DePlancke, MPH , Brant County Health Unit, Brantford, ON, Canada
Background: The Healthy Communities project involves priority setting and mobilization activities to build healthy public policy and to contribute to the creation of sustainable, supportive environments that promote healthy living. Purpose: The Community Picture phase identified key priorities and supported local needs across the following six priority areas: physical activity and recreation; injury prevention; healthy eating; tobacco use and exposure; substance and alcohol misuse; and mental health. Methods: Key strategies utilized included community assessment and consultation; partnership development; and information and knowledge exchange. A population health approach guided the analysis of quantitative (socio-demographics, health status data) and qualitative (academic/grey literature, best practices, key informant interviews, focus groups, document analysis, stories/testimonials) data. SWOT and PEST analyses illuminated internal and external factors impacting health. Results: Epidemiological data described the community's health status and revealed health disparities associated to age, sex, SES and neighbourhood. Low income and lack of transportation were persistently identified as barriers, affecting community members' opportunities and access to resources (sport/recreation programs; healthy food; home safety devices; smoking cessation aids, etc.). Resulting recommended actions included: Increasing recreation opportunities for low income individuals; Creating an environment that promotes safe active transportation; Increasing access to healthy food; Increasing smoke free public spaces; and Reducing stigma associated with mental health by increasing awareness and knowledge and addressing misconceptions. Conclusion: A participatory approach and community engagement principles ensured stakeholders were involved throughout the process and key priorities and areas for community-coordinated efforts were identified. Resulting recommended actions will inform future policy and program development.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe the methodology used to develop a community picture across six health priority areas 2. To discuss how community assessment and consultation, partnership development and information knowledge and exchange strategies were used to engage the community during the development of the community picture 3. To identify key issues and recommended actions that resulted from the community engagement process

Keywords: Community Health Assessment, Health Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I was responsible for the development and implementation of the Community Picture project and monitored all activities.
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.