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
- Bring together people who are interested in the health and wellness issues
- Identify and define your communities needs, gaps and readiness
- Find local data related to health and wellness, or those who can help you find the data
- Ask community members to interpret what the data means in their community
- Make high-risk populations a priority
Step 2: Find your community champions
- Identify “champions” – community members willing to take up a cause and able to lead
- Respect community’s knowledge
- Value the different ways communities get things done
Step 3: Engage partners
- Find ways to work with existing programs and services
- Find others who can assist
- Be clear about roles & contributions
- Learn from others
- Value volunteers
Step 4: Develop your plan
- Clarify expectations and build in accountability
- Learn from what other communities have done. What information is available regarding similar approaches to issues?
- Use your data in developing your plan
- Be flexible and responsive to local community needs
Step 5: Train program leaders
- What skills or knowledge do you need to carry out the plan in your community?
- Nurture leadership – include youth
Step 6: Carry out your plan
- Promote your program and raise awareness
- Capture community’s experiences
- Adjust your plan to respond to different results
Step 7: Evaluate what’s been done
- To what extent did you reach your goals?
- What worked well or didn’t work? Were changes needed midway?
- Gather advice for others
- Who else needs to know? (advocacy)
Step 8: Celebrate, share and continue
- Tell your stories
- What do you need to continue your program?