Evaluation findings on community participation in the California Healthy Cities and Communities program.Health Promot Int. 2009 Dec; 24(4):300-10.HP
As part of an evaluation of the California Healthy Cities and Communities (CHCC) program, we evaluated resident involvement, broad representation and civic engagement beyond the local CHCC initiative. The evaluation design was a case study of 20 participating communities with cross-case analysis. Data collection methods included: coalition member surveys at two points in time, semi-structured interviews with key informants, focus groups with coalition members and document review. Participating communities were diverse in terms of population density, geography and socio-demographic characteristics. Over a 3-year period, grantees developed a broad-based coalition of residents and community sectors, produced a shared vision, conducted an asset-based community assessment, identified a priority community improvement focus, developed an action plan, implemented the plan and evaluated their efforts. Local residents were engaged through coalition membership, assessment activities and implementation activities. Ten of the 20 coalitions had memberships comprised of mainly local residents in the planning phase, with 5 maintaining a high level of resident involvement in governance during the implementation phase. Ninety percent of the coalitions had six or more community sectors represented (e.g. education, faith). The majority of coalitions described at least one example of increased input into local government decision-making and at least one instance in which a resident became more actively involved in the life of their community. Findings suggest that the Healthy Cities and Communities model can be successful in facilitating community participation.