Online Program

Building healthier communities: An evidence-based training model to increase effective cross-sector collaboration

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stefanie Valovic, MBA, Mass Partnership for Healthy Communities, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Peter Lee, MPH, Mass Partnership for Healthy Communities, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Catherine O'Connor, MA, Offiice of Healthy Communities, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Amanda Ayers, MPH, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
The MassForum for Creating Healthier Communities (MassForum) was an annual 10-month-long capacity-building training series based on nine Healthy Communities principles. From 2003 to 2010, 68 cross-sector teams from communities across Massachusetts convened on a monthly basis to learn and practice the application of the Healthy Communities principles. Sectors represented business, policy-makers, neighborhood residents, health care, faith groups, transportation, schools, municipal planning, not-for-profits, law enforcement, youth, public health and others. The MassForum approach emphasizes diverse community participation to enhance mutual understanding, build relationships, develop a shared vision, and practical steps to translate that vision into action. The MassForum curriculum empowered participating teams to operationalize the Healthy Communities principles by building shared capacity in Planning, Community Asset Mapping, Evaluation, Communication, Coalition Building, Cultural Competency, Leadership, Communication and Youth Development and other areas. A recent survey of MassForum graduates evidences the training model's positive long-term impact on sustainable, cross-sector, and community-driven collaboration as a basis for generating constructive change. Key survey findings demonstrate that since completing the MassForum training, the majority of responding teams a) implemented a health or wellness strategy in their community in areas including drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse; access to active living and healthy foods; and community safety; b) maintained their group structure and community outreach over time; and c) were successful in leveraging additional resources to sustain their work.

Learning Areas:

Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define the nine Healthy Communities principles which inform in the MassForum for Creating Healthier Communities (MassForum) training model. Identify the unique features of the MassForum training model and how its team-based, cross-sector and community-driven format distinguishes it from other community health training techniques. Describe evidence of the model's positive influence on collective impact through sustainable, interdisciplinary and inter-agency partnerships. Identify best practices for replicating and delivering the MassForum model. Identify challenges and solutions presented by the training model survey data. Identify opportunities to apply the model in the context of health reform and other emerging public health infrastructure.

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked closely with Peter Lee to plan, deliver and evaluate the MassForum for Creating Healthier Communities, the topic of this abstract. I have over 15 years of experience managing public health training, policy and communications initiatives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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.