245795 Empowering Communities to Advocate for Planning Policies Supportive of Health and Wellness

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Julia Liou, MPH , Program Planning and Development Director, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Dung Nguyen , Health Education, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA
Given the growing recognition that physical and social environment factors play a major role in shaping health, Asian Health Services (AHS), a community health center, capitalized on an unprecedented opportunity to engage community members in a city planning process focused on the re-development of a neighborhood located near a public transit station. This neighborhood, located in Oakland, California, is characterized as a crowded, lower income community with many needs that sensitive planning could address. Given the significant number of AHS patients that live, work, and recreate in the neighborhood, AHS has implemented a community-based participatory project, “Leadership Action for Healthy Communities”, which focuses on empowering patients as well as low-income community members in the neighborhood to advocate for local environmental, planning, land-use and overall policies that support community health and wellness. This project has been instrumental in mobilizing community members young and old to gather relevant data in their community for policy advocacy, voice their needs and issues, and advocate for health priorities to be incorporated into a city specific plan for the neighborhood. As a model by which low-income community members have gained the leadership skills necessary to address the root causes of the chronic diseases they face, such as crime, polluted air, traffic, and unsafe public spaces, this project implemented activities that fostered effective local partnerships between city planning agencies, affordable housing advocates, businesses, churches, architects, youth organizations, and health centers. This session will discuss how these efforts created community-level change to building a healthy community.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
• Articulate at least three strategies to engaging low-income community members in a planning process to advocate for changes in their community-social and physical-that improve their health and quality of life. • Demonstrate how a community based needs assessment can build relevant data for local planning policies that support and build community health and wellness. • Describe key factors in establishing effective partnerships necessary for creating community-level change to positively impact social determinant of health factors.

Keywords: Community Involvement, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee and implement the project described in the abstract.
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.