Assess your community capacity and needed resources

Public health practitioners and community organizations can assist the partnership in determining what actions will be most helpful in creating environmental and policy changes.   These actions may include communicating with the community as a whole or with specific decision makers.  In either case it is important to provide the information about the need for environmental and policy changes in a way that will capture the intended audiences attention. This may include a public action and a large number of people, or a smaller action that involves more face to face communication. Public health practitioners and community organizations can take part in either of these types of actions in a variety of ways. For example, they can provide current, relevant information and data to help develop the messages conveyed. They can also help identify appropriate audiences for a particular message (e.g., an elected official, the public at large). Because the intent of these activities is to create broad based environmental and policy changes statement, it is often useful to organize media coverage of the event and to ensure that public officials are aware of it.

If your partnership receives public funds, many things are allowed that support initiatives that advocate for environmental and policy changes. You can provide current data or other educational information on an issue as it is experienced in your community. Likewise, your partnership can help by developing a list of legislators to contact based on their interest in the issue or their position on certain legislative committees.

These different approaches and activities may require a variety of different resources.

Example resources needed include:

  • a copy machine or access to a printing facility is required to get brochures and other printed materials out to the community
  • cameras, video recording devices, or audio recording devices and associated technology may be needed to document and communicate community problems
  • access to billboards, bus stops, train stations or other locations to post messages

An environments and policies will require certain skill sets depending on the specific strategies used. For example, it may be necessary to have skills in planning, community organization, urban design and planning, or public policy. Others have found it useful to get assistance from experts in these areas to ensure that communications related to the policy or environmental changes are appropriate and that resources to assist individuals who wish to prevent injuries from falls are made known to community members. You may want to have your staff participate in some type of training to build capacity within your organization to collaborate with these other partners.

Likewise, evaluation of environments and policy interventions may be complex and may require assistance from researchers and other partners who have experience with study design, measurement development, data collection, data analysis, or translation of research findings into practical implications for your community.

In general, efforts to draw attention to your environmental and policy efforts may be costly, so it will be important to develop a budget and estimate the costs of advocating for the policy and maintaining it over time.

Evidence from previous suggests that many resources and funds are required to create environments and policies.

Previous work in environments and policies has found the following:

The development and implementation of some of the enhanced access intervention strategies are relatively inexpensive and may be considered a good investment. However, the enforcement of policies and other changes to the environment may be very expensive.

Space may or may not be an issue. These interventions can be conducted in neighborhoods, schools, worksites, or other environments that don’t require renting out space to implement the intervention. However, changes to the environment itself will require space considerations.

Likewise, equipment and materials may or may not be issues for consideration. Some of the equipment and materials are relatively inexpensive to acquire and distribute (e.g., tables and baskets for distributing fruits and vegetables) but some equipment may be more costly (e.g., machinery to build community gardens or grocery stores).

Other resources to think about may include monetary or other incentives for participation among food service staff, food vendors, food distributors, and participants.

The Readiness and Preparation and Capacity sections provide information and resources to help you think about the resources you might need for your intervention.  For specific examples of tools and resources for injuries from falls that have been created and used by other communities, visit Tools and Resources for Injuries from Falls Campaigns and Promotions.

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