Guest post by Alan Lampson, Lead, Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center, University of Vermont Medical Center
On June 21, NNLM NER kicked off a 4-part Community of Interest (COI) class on Community Health Engagement with an introductory session. We discussed what a COI is – a community of people who share a common interest or passion. We then defined what the purpose of this COI is – to provide a group learning experience in community assessment, outcomes-based planning, and data collection. The program was led by Margot Malachowski, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region.
Session One: Community Health Engagement
At this initial meeting there were presentations on three different types of projects. The first presentation was from Gayle Finkelstein of the University of Vermont Medical Center and the Northern New England Poison Control Center. Gayle talked about a population-based project, her poison prevention work with immigrants and new Americans. The second presentation was by Susan Halpin from NNLM and highlighted a problem-based project, the opioid abused epidemic. This project was called the Learning Curve and was an NNLM funded project. The third presentation was an idea for a technology-based project on Patient Generated Data by Margot. This was followed by a presentation on the guidelines for IRB approval of projects.
Session Two: Community Assessment
In this webinar, Margot presented information on the whys and whats of community assessments. Margot discussed the process of taking inventory in outreach planning.
Margot then demonstrated each of the steps using a project for Outreach to Boston-area Youth. We reviewed sources for community assessment data, including government data sets, organizations such as the Pew Research Center as well as hospital community needs assessments (CHNAs).
Session Three: Outcomes-based Planning
Session 3 began with a discussion on the Innovation-Decision Process.
Stage One: Knowledge – Community becomes aware of it
Stage Two: Persuasion – Community actively seeks information about it
Stage Three: Decision – Community decides to experiment with it
Stage Four: Implementation – Community uses it
Stage Five: Confirmation – Community becomes committed users
(Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects, Booklets One-Two-Three. Available for download at: https://nnlm.gov/neo/professional-development/guides)
We also explored logic models, a method to plan projects by identifying desired outcomes (short, medium and long term) what activities would lead to these outcomes and then what inputs or resources would be needed to carry out those activities. Logic models have the benefit of making it more likely that desired outcomes are measurable.
Session Four: Preparing Your Pitch with Data
This session reviewed the components of a proposal and the presentation of data in both the proposal phase and the results phase. During this session Sharon Hawkes, Director of the Nahant (MA) Public Library, shared her needs assessment of her community. Eugenia Liu from the University of New Hampshire gave a demonstration on using Piktochart to present information. Piktochart is a free web based application that allows users to create infographics.
If you would like to view earlier sessions or have any other questions please contact Margot Malachowski at Margot.Malachowski@umassmed.edu
This webinar series was a great opportunity to learn about the process of developing a community health project and hear ideas from other participants. Thank you to Margot Malachowski for presenting this series. For those of us who work in consumer health it is always important to look outside our organizations, assess the needs of the community, and plan projects to meet those needs.