Online Program

Creating a healthier place to live, learn, work and play: Four achievements of the healthy community council assessment process

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kristi Lewis, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.H., Associate Professor; Department of Health Sciences/CHBS, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley, M.S., Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services - James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Betsy Hay, M.S.W., United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County
Jane Hubbell, M.Ed., Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services - James Madison University
Katherine Montgomery, M.P.H., Rockingham Memorial Hospital Healthcare
Betty Newell, M.A., Healthy Community Council
Introduction/Background: The Healthy Community Council (HCC), established with the mission to enhance quality of life, has conducted community-wide assessments on quality of life since 1996. From the assessment data, community priorities are identified and action teams are formed to address each priority. Methodology/Strategy: Based on the outcomes of action teams, the HCC leadership committee identified four specific accomplishments that include: 1) promoting a green community infrastructure, 2) coordinating local food systems, 3) empowering youth through healthy lifestyles, and 4) accessing healthcare for vulnerable community members. Outcomes: In promoting a green community infrastructure, initiatives focused on alternative transportation, disposal, recycling and solid waste management, water quality, local foods and green energy design. In coordinating a local food system, a Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter was established, a food directory was published, and funding secured to increase fresh produce for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Empowering youth through healthy lifestyles has included decreasing risky health behaviors such as tobacco, drug and alcohol use, and sexual activity, while developing healthy behaviors such as positive peer and family relationships, youth leadership skills and civic engagement. Increasing healthcare access for vulnerable community members was accomplished through the funding for a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides care to Medicare recipients, refugees and the homeless. Conclusion: Identifying community accomplishments through the outcomes of action teams, established based on assessment data, provides insight on the importance of a community driven assessment process.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of identifying priorities, developing a mechanism to address the priorities and acknowledging outcomes related to community health assessments. Describe the use of action teams in accomplishing community-driven outcomes related to assessment findings. Define four specific achievements related to the work of community members and leaders that initiated community change.

Keyword(s): Community Health Assessment, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 15 years of public health experience. I worked as an Epidemiologist prior to securing a tenure-track faculty position in 2004. I was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. I have participated in a number of research projects and have published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at a number of national conferences.
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.