Is Your Community Ready for a Change?
Are you looking for ways to engage your community to address a health challenge? Do you want to assess if your community is ready to engage in practices to address a current health focus? A community readiness assessment may be your answer to creating a new way to address health concerns in your community.
What is Community Readiness?
Community readiness is the level in which a community is prepared and willing to address a specific challenge present in their community. This level of readiness can range from no awareness that a health issue is a concern, to having established programs to address a health issue. Community readiness measures leadership in the community and community members through: attitudes, activities, knowledge, and resources in the community. These measures help to assess a community’s readiness to address a health issue, this is based of 5 key dimensions:
- Community Knowledge of the Issue
- Community Knowledge of Efforts
- Community Climate
What are the benefits of a Community Readiness Assessment?
Communities can spend months trying to understand how to engage a community to address a particular health challenge, which can strain many resources like time, money, and manpower in a community. Using a Community Readiness Assessment does not require a professional or prior experience, making it highly accessible to a community. Anyone in a community can use and understand this assessment, which makes it easier for community members to recognize and understand a health issue. The Community Readiness Assessment also creates a realistic perspective of where a community is in relation to readiness to change, which allows communities to start at a more manageable point and work up to the next level of readiness. Lastly, the levels of readiness are a true reflection of the culture and competency of a community, which creates a holistic community vision for a change in health status.
Visit this link to learn more about Community Readiness.
Is a Community Readiness Assessment the Next Step for your Community?
Addressing community readiness is an important step in understanding how prepared your community is and where to start. To create change, you cannot force community members to take action on a health issue they have no idea exists or is even important. Meeting your community where it is at may give you a better idea on whether this assessment is needed. Projects will be more successful if we are implementing community readiness as meeting communities where they are, allows for a gradual process of working toward action to address health concerns.
Do you want to learn more about how to use Community Readiness in your community?
The Purdue Extension Coalition Engagement Team has offered a variety of professional development opportunities over the years. Below is a 4-part series focusing on how you can assess Community Readiness in your coalitions, partnerships and communities. It may be readiness to engage in a new health focus, or reinvigorate a stagnant one, or even assess if a group is ready to engage in certain programming. Community readiness is the degree to which a community is willing and prepared to take action on an issue. Levels range from no awareness all the way to full community ownership.
Partners at Connections IN Health (Indiana CTSI) and Purdue Extension Community Development have utilized this model and led this series. The series overviews community readiness, details on how to assess it, how you utilize the information and how you share it in the community to help them to move forward. The series was published in January and February of 2022.
You can find community readiness and many other coalition resources on the Coalition Trip website.