Building Healthy Communities, Central Long Beach (BHC)

Funded by The California Endowment (TCE), Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a ten-year, place-based initiative designed to develop a collaborative structure with residents, community-based organizations, and government leaders. The initiative takes a systems level approach to improve community health in Central/West Long Beach, one of 14 communities in California selected by TCE. The Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) serves as the Learning and Evaluation (L&E) Team and is responsible for implementing cross-site and local evaluation activities. These activities include developing the local evaluation plan and data collection instruments; collecting quantitative and qualitative data to assess BHCLB’s impact; analyzing and disseminating BHCLB data and findings; attending BHCLB-related events and meetings; determining research and evaluation training needs among BHCLB partners and TCE grantees and providing technical assistance accordingly; coordinating support for local training on research and evaluation; providing ongoing feedback to BHCLB on evaluation findings; working with BHCLB staff members to analyze and interpret findings; and preparing annual evaluation reports.

To ensure that L&E activities are in line with BHCLB efforts, CHER convened an L&E Committee consisting of BHCLB partners and agency representatives. Feedback from L&E Committee members help to ensure that these activities produce meaningful data that can be used to advance BHCLB efforts. L&E Committee meetings serve as a forum to discuss new and upcoming evaluation activities, and to request feedback on how these activities can be most appropriately implemented. 

Notable evaluation activities to date:

  • Resident Power Survey: A locally-developed survey was administered to BHCLB-affiliated community residents to assess perceptions of resident power and to assess level of engagement. The survey was developed in consultation with other BHCLB staff, BHCLB partner organizations, and community residents, and focused on three core elements of resident power: 1)  resident involvement, 2) leadership development, and 3) resident influence. Seventy-seven residents completed surveys between June and November 2013. A second round of surveys is expected to be administered in Summer 2015.
  • Three abstracts on CHER’s BHCLB-related activities were accepted by the American Public Health Association (APHA) and presented its annual meeting in November 2014. 

- Assessing Collaborative Efficacy of an Environmental Health Workgroup to Improve Group Functioning (oral presentation)

- Evaluating Resident Power as a Driver of Place-Based Social and Policy Change in California (roundatable presentation)

- Engaging the Community in a Learning Framework: Highlights from a Place-Based Building Healthy Communities Initiative (poster presentation)