Online Program

Role of data in mobilizing community action: The case study of common pathways coalition

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Clara P. Savage, Common Pathways Coalition, Worcester, MA
The community of Worcester Massachusetts has grown by 20,000 since 1980 to a total of 181,045 residents. Approximately 28% of residents speak a language other than English at home and 18% live below the federal poverty line. Newcomers and long-time residents find Worcester's independent service systems challenging to navigate. Standardized data and integrated systems are critical to improving community health. In 2004, local leaders representing DPH, UMass Medical School, hospitals, health centers, social services, and community leaders created Common Pathways, a healthy community coalition, to work together in improving quality of life for all. Common Pathways gathered community data by asking residents to identify Worcester's needs. Experts compiled quantitative data supporting the emergent priorities. In response to this baseline data, partners focused on five areas, mental health, health equity, transportation, housing, and research application. Common Pathways: (1) Completed the first Health Indicators Report informing stakeholders and residents about community issues (2) Disseminated data and promoted local actions (3) Refocused funding around priorities (4) Participated in local research with the Harvard School of Public Health, Dana Farber, and UMASS about cancer screenings, refugee mental health, health communications, second-hand smoking, and others (5) Conducted 64 conversations with residents about community health issues. While this method of data collection and residents' participation changes how data is collected, analyzed, supported, and used, continued success is dependent on an ongoing, standardized process of quantitative and qualitative data collection, progress tracking, and outcome dissemination.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate how a shared vision among organizations, government officials, researchers and neighborhood residents can foster a healthier city. Describe effective strategies to bring and maintain diverse voices in generating new knowledge. List strategies for data disseminating to improve practice and advocate for policy change.

Keyword(s): Community Building, Data Collection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Director of a Community Based Organization that has in partnership with an academic institution developed methods for data dissemination in communities this is an area of expertise that I have developed. I am an expert in the center and have worked in this field for several years.
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.