|Title:||Raising Awareness of Health Disparities to Improve Health Outcomes Through County Engagement|
O’Donnell, Crystal, Rush University; Karen Hinshaw, Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), Indiana University School of Medicine
Background/Significance/Rationale: An opportunity exists to increase the health in Washington County Indiana through increased community engagement. Community engagement can increase synergy, which can lead to increased sustainability, improved trust and communication, and enhanced possibility of long-term community change (Butterfoss, 2007). Strategies for change are not a one size fit all approach and the integration of community engagement throughout the process allows the strategies to be adapted to the community (University of New England, 2017).
Methods: The Community Coalition Action Theory is the conceptual framework providing insight and guidance for community engagement (Butterfoss, 2007). Individuals in Washington County have contributed to the community assessment, identified nutrition as an issue, completed interviews to determine the community’s readiness to address nutrition, selected a mass media campaign and a health product strategy during a strategic doing process, and developed a Scope of Work for planning the implementation and evaluation of the strategy.
Results/Findings: Members in Washington County are engaged in every step of the process for health and social outcomes to occur and sustain. The community selected the issue of nutrition and developed an intervention to increase community awareness of the problem and available resources. The strategy is being implemented by the Community Health Action Team coalition which provides the community with a sense of ownership. These changes could lead to increased success in outcomes, sustainability, and enhanced long term community change (Butterfoss, 2007).
Conclusions/Discussion: Implementation of the selected strategy is still in process and the long-term impact on health outcomes will take time to assess.
Translational/Human Health Impact: This process can be implemented in other areas. The outcomes may vary due to the complexity of the issue being addressed and the community context where the strategy is being implemented. While the long-term outcomes will vary, each county will be raising awareness of its selected health challenge.