Bill Reger-Nash, EdD
Holli Smith, MS, MSW, CHES
Linda Cooper, MSW, LCSW
Linda Holmstrand, MPA
Cardiovascular Health Program
WV Bureau for Public Health
For additional information, contact:
Bill Reger-Nash , Ed.D.
Department of Community Medicine
School of Medicine
West Virginia University
P.O. Box 9190
Morgantown, West Virginia 26506
304-293-0764 Fax: 304-293-6685
One of the most significant challenges in community health is how to assist communities in making meaningful and significant changes. Most change programs focus on individuals. Sustainable change only occurs when an empowered community effects policy and environmental change. A community must know how to make change and then do it.
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES - MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN
Successfully implemented in six West Virginia communities around specific health issues,Community Health Participation Planning is predicated on the concept of participants’ experiencing firsthand policy, environmental, societal, and personal barriers to living a healthy lifestyle while addressing the health needs of their own community environment. This is accomplished through participants’ simultaneous involvement in three types of structured experiences over a 10-12 week period:
Community Health Participation Planning
• -involves local stakeholders and other community members in identifying, mobilize around, and overcoming barriers to change.
• -provides a synergistic setting for critical insight and problem solving.
• -helps community members realize the true value of both personal and community support.
• -mobilizes the talents, energy, and insights of all participants.
• -utilizes direct involvement to mandate program ownership and help overcome resistance to change.
• -enables meaningful input and heightened commitment to the success of the project at hand.
This workbook is dedicated to a dear friend whose tireless dedication to the field of health promotion in the state of West Virginia has been the impetus for a document of this magnitude. Thanks to Alan Holmes for his continual support of the efforts of the authors and his belief in the process to improve the communities in which we live. There is no one else in our great state who stands as more of a
champion for the health and well being of all. It is with love and devotion that we dedicate this Community Health Participatory Planning Workbook to Alan Holmes, Director, Division of Health Promotion, West Virginia Bureau of Public Health.
Welcome to an innovative and fun way to get a job done through participatory planning.
Many of us involved in community organizing have searched for years for a way to energize and
create a base of excited and dedicated people who will help address a problem or concern facing
the community. Did I say “problem”? Perhaps that word alone has caused more roadblocks than
any other word. “Problem” causes people to hit the dirt and run for cover. What a participatory
planning process does is invite community members to become involved in “a situation that
The participatory planning process is based on the premise that, given helpful tools,
everyone wants to make a difference. However, if folks do not believe this is the case (that
everyone wants to make a difference), perhaps they should read no further. Given that there are
so many groups, organizations, and entities searching for a “few good ‘wo/men’,” we, in the
health promotion field, must be more positive and more direct in attracting those who can get the
job done. We must give people an effective way to come together and to achieve a shared goal.
The Community Health Participatory Planning Model does just this. It provides a
defined procedure and enjoyable process for coming and being together, for jointly and
deliberately defining and developing solutions to a problem in our own community. Then, when
the energies of a local community are ignited and a bit of change is achieved, hang on, for there
is no telling what can be accomplished!
Holli Smith, Consultant and Enthusiast