In July 1997, the Hawai’i District Health Office (HDHO) in partnership with the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Department of Baccalaureate Nursing, the Hawai’i County Office of Aging, the Hilo Community School for Adults and the Hawai’i Alliance for Community Health sponsored a workshop “Action Planning for Community-Based Initiatives.” A basic concept emerging from the meeting was the belief that it is important to change the environment in which individuals engage in “unhealthy” behaviors in order to maximize efforts to reduce the prevalence of those behaviors within the population. It encourages citizen participation and the development of a community’s capacity to address local health problems. In the workshop, participants identified barriers to creating and maintaining community partnerships/coalitions. Existing concerns of child abuse and neglect, promoting health for older adults, adolescent pregnancy, substance abuse, risk for chronic disease, and youth violence were topics used as examples for training purposes. These topics were consistent with priority health concerns for the 6 island communities as well as being reflected in Healthy Hawai’i 2000 objectives.
A community initiative focusing on building the capacity of community members on the Big Island of Hawai’i was created following the workshop. Four principal program objectives were identified in this project. They include:

  • Community partnership development in each of the 6 districts on the Big Island;
  • Providing initial staffing to coordinate and facilitate coalition development;
  • Providing training for the initial staff and for key community leaders in core competencies for doing the work (e.g., planning, facilitation, grant writing);
  • And documenting community change and the successes of the local community partnerships.

This Prezi presents the development of a grassroots movement to address the above issues, the capacity built as part of the initiative, findings from a participatory evaluation, and future directions.