250340 Aroused, concerned and involved: Engaging community members in policy development to reduce inequities and create healthy communities

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Ruth T. Perot, MAT , DC Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc., Washington, DC, DC
Canary Girardeau, MS, RN , SHIRE Ward 8 Childhood Overweight/Obesity Prevention Collaborative, Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc., Washington, DC
Suzanne M. Randolph, PhD , Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
A citywide partnership of grassroots, governmental and other organizations, led by a community-based non-profit, is working with residents to select policy-focused actions that address food insecurity and poor health in DC's underserved areas. Childhood overweight/obesity is approaching 50%; communities have high poverty and crime rates, which limit use of parks/green space; and residents rarely participate in policy development to improve their circumstances; see themselves as “voiceless”; and are not involved in important decisions affecting their lives. To reverse childhood obesity, the partnership seeks policy and systems changes which promote healthy living and give voice to underserved children and families. Policies considered include: implementing the federal Afterschool Supper Program; creation of a "saturation index" of unhealthy food/beverage outlets and residents' use of the index to identify locations for healthy vendors; increasing safety/accessibility of parks/playgrounds through workforce policies; and advocating policies for insurers to reimburse community-based fitness/healthy living programs. Partners include the health department and other city offices, civic organizations, and a professional association for black children's development. Partners believe that an “aroused and concerned and involved community” leads to policies that will move the statistics in these underserved areas in a more favorable direction. Partners were instrumental in passage of the 2010 DC Healthy Schools Act. The presentation will discuss how the partnership attracted community members and others, including corporations and foundations, who view it as an effective and trusted resource to identify inequities, propose solutions, and galvanize grassroots groups to address health inequities among the underserved, particularly communities of color.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss lessons learned in organizing community-based partnerships that bring together community members, grassroots organizations, health department officials, schools, media, child care providers, healthcare agencies, residents and others to advocate for or develop health policies to reduce childhood obesity. 2. Describe one initiative that demonstrates success in utilizing community members to identify or advance evidenced-based planning and policy processes 3. Describe two challenges to community-led health policy development and ways to over come them

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Executive Director/CEO of the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education which is the lead partner for the initiative described in the paper, the DC Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Initiative and the SHIRE Childhood Overweight/Obesity Prevention Collaborative.
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.