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Rural Health Information Hub

Community Readiness Model

In the Community Readiness Model, communities are motivated by the difference between current health situations or behaviors and the desire to reach a goal. Community readiness refers to how prepared the community is to take action to address a particular health issue.

There are several stages in community readiness. These stages are:

  • Absence of awareness – the community does not recognize the health issue.
  • Denial or resistance – there is little recognition or concern among community members about the health issue.
  • Vague awareness – the community may be concerned about the health issue, but the motivation to address it is low.
  • Pre-planning – the community recognizes that action is needed, but there is a lack of focused activity around the health issue.
  • Preparation – leaders in the community begin to plan and support approaches to addressing the health issue.
  • Initiation – the community begins activities to address the health issue.
  • Stabilization – the community activities are supported by administrators and other community leaders.
  • Confirmation/expansion – activities have been implemented and the community is comfortable with addressing the health issue.
  • High level of community ownership – data are being gathered that support the efforts, and the approach may be replicated in other communities.

Implementation Considerations

The Community Readiness Model is issue-specific because community readiness varies depending on the health topic being addressed. Community readiness also varies depending on the factors that influence health, such as knowledge, leadership, and resources. The Community Readiness Model is useful for identifying approaches for addressing new health issues, when looking to involve different segments or sub-populations of the community, for identifying approaches to sustain an ongoing effort, and for community planning.

Resources to Learn More

Community Readiness for Community Change
Defines nine stages of a community readiness model, and includes a process for conducting a community readiness assessment.
Organization(s): TriEthnic Center at Colorado State University
Date: 2014

Community Readiness
Describes the concept of community readiness, why it is important, when it should be used, who should be involved and how to apply the model.
Organization(s): Community Tool Box