How Community Led Health Initiatives Work

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Goal: A community-level shift in attitudes towards chronic disease prevention

Ideas to consider as you begin planning:

  • Be respectful of your community’s knowledge
  • Expertise is within your community
  • Know when to ask for help
  • Who needs to “buy in” or be on board with you?
  • What resources do you need (people, money, equipment/facilities)?

Key Process Steps

Step 1: Identify the health and wellness issues in your community

  1. Bring together people who are interested in the health and wellness issues
  2. Identify and define your communities needs, gaps and readiness
  3. Find local data related to health and wellness, or those who can help you find the data
  4. Ask community members to interpret what the data means in their community
  5. Make high-risk populations a priority

Step 2: Find your community champions

  1. Identify “champions” – community members willing to take up a cause and able to lead
  2. Respect community’s knowledge
  3. Value the different ways communities get things done

Step 3: Engage partners

  1. Find ways to work with existing programs and services
  2. Find others who can assist
  3. Be clear about roles & contributions
  4. Learn from others
  5. Value volunteers

Step 4: Develop your plan

  1. Clarify expectations and build in accountability
  2. Learn from what other communities have done. What information is available regarding similar approaches to issues?
  3. Use your data in developing your plan
  4. Be flexible and responsive to local community needs

Step 5: Train program leaders

  1. What skills or knowledge do you need to carry out the plan in your community?
  2. Nurture leadership – include youth

Step 6: Carry out your plan

  1. Promote your program and raise awareness
  2. Capture community’s experiences
  3. Adjust your plan to respond to different results

Step 7: Evaluate what’s been done

  1. To what extent did you reach your goals?
  2. What worked well or didn’t work? Were changes needed midway?
  3. Gather advice for others
  4. Who else needs to know? (advocacy)

Step 8: Celebrate, share and continue

  1. Tell your stories
  2. What do you need to continue your program?