Developing Community and Public Health Capacity for Change
Health campaigns in March
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month
Multiple sclerosis Awareness Month
National Myeloma Awareness Month
National Food Month
National Endometriosis Month
A month of eye care at work
National Day of Saving Your Vision
National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Month
American Red Cross Month
Learning Awareness Month
National Development Awareness Month
National Eye Donor Month
National Poison Prevention Month
National Professional Social Work Month
Save your vision month
For community members or public health, the topics of this article will not be new, but as professionals, we often find it useful to remember the principles of our chosen areas. In our fast-paced and extremely important movement, it is so easy to perform work tasks that we lose sight of the core values we seek.
There is a growing number of evidence-based interventions that public health and public health professionals can use to promote health and prevent disease. These methods can improve the environment, behavior and health in our communities. However, public health authorities and community partners often need additional tools, strategies and training to improve their ability to improve health outcomes.
The most effective prevention strategies actively engage the communities for which they are intended. Effective health promotion and healthy social change require communities to identify, plan, guide and act on resources. The notion of a community as a solution to its problems is not new. There is strong support for the development of community interventions to improve health behavior and the overall health of community members. According to Sotomayor, Pavlik and Dominguez in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease,
U.S. Bureau of Disease Prevention and Health Health Healthy People 2020 Pledges to Respect It
Identify national priorities for better health.
Raise public awareness and understanding about the determinants of health, disease and disability, as well as opportunities for progress.
Include measurable goals and objectives applicable at the national, regional and local levels.
Engage multiple sectors in policy-enhancing and better practices based on the best data and knowledge available.
Identify critical needs to survey, evaluate, and collect data.
Many health prevention and promotion consultants emphasize the importance of local leaders in improving public health. Healthy People 2020 toolkit to identify and engage community partners answers the question “How do you define meaningful citizen participation?” in this way:
The ability to make decisions and influence results
Citizen managed; community, not top-down
Proactive, not reactive
Encourages and promotes broad community engagement
Included, not exclusive; Available to everyone
Balanced representation in the participation process; not just big “partners”
Consensus-based Compromise; give and take
Opportunities for participation at all levels of activity, including vision, planning, prioritization, decision-making and evaluation of ODPHP:
It may take time to build strong relationships with the necessary social partners. Promoting meetings to ensure meaningful participation, as described above, requires a certain set of skills. In this case, a health consultant can be extremely helpful. Each public health consultant is, of course, individual, but in general he or she will have considerable experience in the following tasks:
Develop education and health promotion programs such as school or public presentations, seminars, trainings, etc.
Writing and editing health education materials, such as reports, newsletters and visual aids, to address public health issues.
Develop working relationships with public health agencies and organizations.
Develop and conduct assessments to assess the quality and effectiveness of health awareness and education programmes.
Work with community groups and public health officials to identify the community’s health needs and services.
Write press releases and announcements for public services, run media campaigns, or run websites related to the program.
Develop grant applications to fund health education programs and related works.