265327 Empowering Communities to Change their Health Landscape: Engaging partners, building trust, and working toward community change using the Community Healthy Living Index

Monday, October 29, 2012

Katherine Hohman, MPH , YMCA of the USA, Washington, DC
Melissa Walsh, MA , Providence YMCA Youth Services, YMCA of Greater Providence, Providence, RI
Bruce Hathaway, BA , Health Innovation Department, YMCA of the USA, Washington, DC
The Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI) has been used by individuals, advocates, and community-based organizations to assess 852 sites throughout the U.S. since its 2008 introduction, including schools, afterschool sites, early childhood programs, neighborhoods, worksites, and communities-at-large. The CHLI process assesses sites' support for healthy eating and physical activity; more notably, CHLI provides community organizations with a vehicle to develop positive and trusted collaborative relationships while providing the opportunity for community members to develop their own unique solutions to health challenges in their environments. This shared responsibility for improving the community builds a strong foundation for effective collaborations. The YMCA of Greater Providence, in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health, has used CHLI in communities across the state as part of their Healthy Places by Design project which is designed to strengthen land use, transportation and urban design policies and local ordinances that guide the decision making process that creates built environments that are more supportive of health. Community members participated in a community health survey, CHLI assessments and a series of public planning charrettes, identifying existing problems and developing innovative strategies to advise local leaders on possible modifications to local policies that create a healthy built environment, CHLI, unlike other assessments that stop at diagnosing gaps, actually engages and empowers community members in identifying improvements and turning action plans into reality. An overview of the CHLI assessment process and YMCA of Greater Providence's journey in urban, rural and suburban communities throughout Rhode Island will be shared.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify a plan to engage and strengthen partnerships using the Community Healthy Living Index, a web-based community assessment tool. Describe the success of a local community in building trust with underrepresented populations using the Community Healthy Living Index. Discuss the power of community partnerships in mobilizing community members to influence policies that impact health

Keywords: Partnerships, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am very familiar with the Y's Healthier Communities work and I provide direct technical assistance to communities in the use of the Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI)
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.