260836 Model Communities: A vital strategy to implementing policy and environmental changes and addressing health equity in Suburban Cook County, Illinois

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Rachael Dombrowski, MPH , Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, Suburban Cook County Communities Putting Prevention to Work, Oak Park, IL
Maryann Mason, PhD , Pediatrics/CMRC, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Sarah Welch, MPH , Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Chicago, IL
Christina Welter, DrPH, MPH , Deputy Director, Prevention Services, Cook County Department of Public Health, Oak Forest, IL
Gina Massuda Barnett, MPH , Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, Cook County Department of Public Health, Oak Forest, IL
Kelsey Gilmet, RN, MN , School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Michael Fagen, PhD MPH , School of Public Health, Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Introduction:Suburban Cook County (SCC), Illinois is a large, geopolitically complex, region with changing demographics similar to the national trend which include increasing suburbanization of low-income and minority populations, often affected by chronic disease. As part of a comprehensive strategy to address health equity in this jurisdiction, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) in collaboration with the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) utilized federal funding to implement the Model Communities (MC) grant program which aimed to transform local communities and schools across SCC to make the “healthier choice, the easier choice.” Methods:Addressing health equity is an underlying premise of the MC strategy. Through targeted outreach, an application and selection process that supported high need areas, and dedicated financial and technical resources for local capacity building and collaboration, MC was structured to build local capacity to sustain efforts beyond CPPW. Results:Evaluation results from surveys and case studies have identified MC as a beneficial strategy in addressing health equity, through increased capacity of the PSE process by 92% of grantees and increased understanding and utilization of collaborative processes among 80% of grantees. At completion of the project period, we expect to make PSE change that impacts over 100 schools and 71 communities throughout SCC. Discussion: This program is likely to offer insights to other areas with similar complex, disparate communities and is a model that can be applied to other public health issues.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify the complexity and difficulties faced when working in suburban communities with disparate populations around policy and environmental change. 2.Understand utilization of strategies like alliance strengthening, capacity building and health communications in order to implement policy and environmental change in a suburban setting. 3.Identify successful components of the MC strategy and how to implement these components in other similar complex environments.

Keywords: Community Health, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the assistant program director on this project. Primary responsibilities include project development and management. I have over five years of experience in policy, systems and environmental change.
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.