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Ensuring Effectiveness

The factors that may increase the likelihood that community networks are effective in bringing about change include:

  • Clear vision and mission
  • Action planning targeting specific community changes
  • Consistent, strong leadership
  • Staff or others who can dedicate time and effort to following up on action plans
  • Documentation of results and outcomes

Community networks are also more likely to be effective when they offer:

  • Social Value
    Can be created by networks when they combine their resources and efforts to improve the lives of individuals or society as a whole.
  • Common goals
    When network members share the same goals, they are more likely to experience a shared sense of mission that will help them work together to improve health.
  • Rewards and incentives
    The convening organization must consider what will motivate different stakeholders to actively participate in the network. For example, businesses may be motivated to improve community health by cost savings due to a healthy workforce.
  • Comprehensive, coordinated approaches
    Use frameworks to guide networks through a systematic process of planning to improve population health. Examples include Adapted Intervention Mapping (AIM) and others outlined in the 2002 report, The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century.

An in-depth discussion on building effective programs can be found in the November 2010 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.