Online Program

Evaluation of health and wellness program: Lessons learned at the community level

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Christina Rios, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Globally, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. Communities of color are disproportional affected by co-morbidity of cardiovascular diseases with higher rates of type II diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Community based approaches are needed to address these serious health problems. A small community wellness program was created to provide local participants with social support, nutrition education, and fitness facilities for participants during 8-12 week sessions. A total of twelve 12-week sessions were held over five years, with an estimated (N=12) participants per cohort. A program evaluation was conducted at the end of one session, consisting of a pre-experimental, non-comparison study design relying on three sources of data. These included surveys (n=17), non-participant key informant interviews (n=5) and annual document reviews. An independent sample t-test of the cohort's weight (N=15), data suggests a significant difference (p<0.05) between baseline and exit weights, where the average weight loss was 3 pounds. The qualitative data were analyzed and coded for themes; participants reported that the program influenced thoughts about food and exercise habits. While the small sample size places limits on generalizability; however, the program highlights that small amounts of weight loss can be achieved and potentially, improve health. Small community coalitions often have difficulty conducting program evaluation; yet even small efforts can yield important insights. Lessons learned include the need for additional evaluation, more oversight of program activities, and discussion of how to increase retention of participants, while recruiting new members.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how evaluation and oversight of small health initiatives affect programming and health at the community level.

Keyword(s): Community Health Programs, Chronic (CVD)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a masters-level student at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Social Work. I am studying international health and macro social work. I conducted this program evaluation as a project for school. I am interested in the health among persons of color, especially immigrants. My interests are in the programs and policies that affect health, wellness and chronic disease prevention and management.
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.