Engaging the Community in Coalition Efforts to Address Childhood Asthma

Published in: Health Promotion Practice, v. 7, no. 2, suppl. Apr. 2006, p. 56S-65S

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Jane Peterson, Laurie L. Lachance, Frances D. Butterfoss, Christy R. Houle, Elisa A. Nicholas, Lisa A. Gilmore, Marielena Lara, Amy R. Friedman

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For health improvement efforts to effectively address community needs, community members must be engaged in planning and implementing public health initiatives. For Allies Against Asthma's coalitions, the community included not only the subpopulation of individuals who suffer disproportionately from asthma but also the individuals and institutions that surround them. Through a quantitative self-assessment survey, informal discussion among coalition leadership, and interviews with key informants, data relevant to community engagement identified a number of important ways the Allies coalitions approached community involvement. Respondents' comments made clear that the way the coalitions conduct their work is often as important as what they do. Across coalitions, factors that were identified as important for community involvement included (a) establishing a commitment to community involvement, (b) building trust, (c) making participation feasible and comfortable, (d) responding to community identified needs, (e) providing leadership development opportunities, and (f) building a shared commitment to desired outcomes.

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