Online Program

Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together in an Active Living and Healthy Eating Micro-Grant Initiative

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Erin Bunger, MPH, Center for Research and Evaluation on Education and Human Services (CREEHS), Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Lina Acosta, MPH, Center for Research and Evaluation on Education and Human Services (CREEHS), Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Background: Research suggests that when paired with technical assistance (TA), micro-grant initiatives are effective in catalyzing community change. Project results can serve as “small wins” that enhance community buy-in and lead to additional projects. There is limited research, however, about how this process occurs and what factors facilitate it. This presentation will describe how the features of a micro-grant initiative – projects to change policies and environments related to active living and healthy eating, partnership enhancement, and social media use – combine to leverage additional resources and support additional efforts.

Methods: Since 2013, 45 community partnerships in New Jersey have received micro-grants along with project and social media TA to implement policy and environmental strategies. TA included project meetings, site visits, monthly calls, social media user manuals and as-needed support. Results from three years of data collection, including grantee surveys, grantee interviews, and progress monitoring of project-related social media sites, were triangulated to qualitatively describe the relationships between the grantee projects, partnerships and social media.

Results: Grantees that made policy and environmental changes related to active living and healthy eating; used social media to raise awareness about local efforts, attract volunteers and enhance partnerships; had diverse community partnerships that were part of an existing larger network; and had strong leadership leveraged materials, supplies, staff time and additional funding to support their current and future work.

Conclusion: Community changes, social media use and successful partnerships combine to attract resources and spark continued healthy eating and active living efforts. Future efforts should focus on quantifying this relationship.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify at least three factors in a community change micro-grant project that facilitated future efforts. Describe two ways that social media use and successful partnerships can interact with community changes to leverage additional resources.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Community-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience using collaborative and participatory approaches to evaluate, research and plan public health initiatives. I managed several evaluations and research projects related to policy and environmental changes to prevent chronic disease. These included state and local level obesity initiatives in a variety of settings such as community-based organizations, schools, early care and education centers and local governments.
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.