Background: The Riverwest Health Initiative (RHI) is a community-based participatory action (CBPA)–driven coalition. The group used several action models to create a community health improvement process (CHIP) uniquely suited for the neighborhood. The issues the coalition addressed and the processes used to inform community health improvement are described at the level of an urban neighborhood, including almost 7,000 households in six census tracts.

Objectives: Describe the influence of conceptual models of CBPA on the development of a neighborhood CHIP. Demonstrate the effect of integrating CBPA and CHIP in acquiring locally relevant health information.

Methods: RHI incorporated resident input in developing a health assessment survey to augment epidemiologic data. The survey allowed neighborhood residents to describe their health status, behaviors, and health care utilization. It included perceptions about neighborhood support and safety, mental and emotional health, and other issues not usually captured in available epidemiologic data.

Results: Based on survey results and an iterative process of community input, residents identified health priorities that were more specific to their community than would have otherwise been available from traditional public health data sources. This information was used to inform the strategic planning process.

Conclusions: The CHIP provided local data that helped practitioners to better target scarce resources to the specific health concerns of the community. Linking the processes of CHIP and CBPA allowed the RHI to be informed in an ongoing manner about the neighborhood's strengths and challenges.


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pp. 7-15
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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