Implementation of Policy, Systems, and Environmental Community-Based Interventions for Cardiovascular Health Through a National Not-for-Profit: A Multiple Case Study
INTRODUCTION: In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the American Heart Association to implement policy, systems, and environment-focused strategies targeting access to healthy food and beverages, physical activity, and smoke-free environments.
METHOD: To understand factors affecting implementation and variations in success across sites, evaluators conducted a multiple case study. Based on past literature, community sites were categorized as capacity-building or implementation-ready, for comparison. A sample of six communities were selected using a systematic selection tool. Through site visits, evaluators conducted interviews with program staff and community partners and assessed action plans.
RESULTS: Evaluators identified important implications for nationally coordinated community-based prevention programming. Differences in implementation varied by the communities’ readiness, with the most notable differences in how they planned activities and defined success. Existing partner relationships (or lack thereof) played a significant role, regardless of the American Heart Association’s existing presence within the communities, in the progression of initiatives and the differences observed among phases. Last, goals in capacity-building sites were tied to organizational goals while goals in implementation-ready sites were more incremental with increased community influence and buy-in.
DISCUSSION: Using national organizations as a mechanism to carry out large-scale community-based prevention work is a viable option that provides coordinated, wide-scale implementation without sacrificing a community’s priorities or input. In funding future initiatives, the presence of relationships and the time needed to cultivate such relationships should be accounted for in the planning and implementation processes, as well as both local and national expectations.
Garney, W. R., Szucs, L. E., Primm, K., King Hahn, L., Garcia, K. M., Martin, E., & McLeroy, K. (2018). Implementation of Policy, Systems, and Environmental Community-Based Interventions for Cardiovascular Health Through a National Not-for-Profit: A Multiple Case Study. Health Educ Behav, 1090198118770489. doi:10.1177/1090198118770489