Skill improvement among coalition members in the California Healthy Cities and Communities Program.Health Educ Res. 2007 Jun; 22(3):450-7.HE
Community-driven, collaborative approaches to health promotion have the potential to enhance skills among community members and, in turn, increase community capacity. This study uses data from an evaluation of the California Healthy Cities and Communities (CHCC) Program to examine whether, and how, community problem-solving and collaboration skills are improved among coalition members and local coordinators in 20 participating communities. Methods include semi-structured interviews with coordinators and mailed surveys with coalition members (n=330 in planning phase and n=243 in implementation phase). The largest number of coordinators reported skill improvement in defining health broadly and assessing needs and assets. Similarly, coalition members reported greatest skill improvement for defining health broadly, assessing needs and assets and setting priorities and developing action plans. Modest correlations were observed between number of roles played in the local healthy cities and communities project and each skill area assessed. Time committed to the local CHCC coalition and its activities was not meaningfully correlated with any of the skills. Types of skill-building opportunities may be more important than number of hours devoted to meetings and activities in strengthening community problem-solving and collaboration skills among coalition members.