245493 Leveraging community partnerships to create policy and environmental change

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:06 AM

Carrie Fesperman Redden, MPH MRP , Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria, Alexandria Health Department, Alexandria, VA
Tricia Rodgers, MA MSW , Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Alexandria, VA
Alexandria's Childhood Obesity Action Network (COAN) is a community partnership that involves the health department, city agencies, preschool providers, local funders, community and faith organizations, businesses, and residents committed to encouraging active lifestyles and healthy eating through policy, systems, and environment changes. Two years ago, COAN created an ambitious action plan to reduce early childhood obesity after 2007 survey results revealed that 43.5% of Alexandria children, ages 2-5, are overweight or obese.

COAN's core achievements include: (a) Unanimous passage by City Council of the Healthy Green Foods Resolution (March 2010) which prioritizes access to healthy food the second of its kind in the country; (b) Inclusion of health goals for the first time in the City of Alexandria's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, including a toddler playspace initiative (June 2010); (c) Amendment of a local ordinance to bolster support for breastfeeding and passage of a resolution outlining city plans to support breastfeeding among employees (February 2011); (d) Signed MOU with the local public housing authority and a reading enrichment organization to establish a gardening project for adults and children coupled with a health-related literacy program; and (e) Formation of a leadership network of preschool directors and early childcare specialists to lead environmental changes within 14 preschools (including 22 centers, 45 classrooms, and over 1,000 children)to increase physical activity and fruit/vegetable consumption.

This session will focus on COAN's process of strategic planning, policy development and implementation, as well as its success in partnership building and community engagement.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe three strategies to collaborate with community partners in successful policy development.

Keywords: Obesity, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the health planner for the Alexandria Health Department and am actively involved in coordinating COAN's work.
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.