Presentation at the 2008 Active Living Research Annual Conference
The Community Health Assessment Mapping Partnership (CHAMP) is an ongoing transdisciplinary working group that integrates multiple methods to collect and track data in order to inform state and federal health policy, local stakeholders and health information networks. Partners have successfully completed several projects in high risk neighborhoods with children, adolescent and adult community members. One such project, Youth Voices, linked participatory action researchers with local young people to explore their perceptions of health and place. Approximately 50 youth in grades 4 - 12 participated in the study. The results of Youth Voices informed policy makers, local health departments, police departments, community assessments, family medicine clinics, federally qualified health centers, as well as impacted community design, service delivery, prevention and intervention strategies in Dane County, Wisconsin. Another project, The Cypress Spray Park Mapping Project, partnered with two local schools to work with youth in creating a list of recommendations for a local spray park. The list of recommendations created by the young people was presented to city and county officials and influenced community design in one Madison neighborhood.
CHAMP links population based health data and qualitative research to place-based data through geographic information systems (GIS). CHAMP aims to address the cultural dimensions of access to active living by using participatory strategies to address health disparities in communities at risk for obesity and other chronic diseases. We use information from multiple health systems combined with GIS technology to layer health data with local neighborhood data to help public health practitioners and built environment professionals work with community members to produce healthy places that foster healthy lifestyles. This helps CHAMP in partnering with local youth centers, schools and neighborhood associations to better understand neighborhood health specifically through the perspective of young people and adults living there. Involving community members in the planning and implementation of neighborhood-level health research is also central to the project and can significantly increase the validity and applicability of findings.
CHAMP promotes the use of a research method called Participatory Photo-Mapping (PPM), which integrates digital photography, global positioning systems (GPS), and GIS together with community-based participatory strategies to facilitate dialog as well as give voice to people not usually invited to speak about their experiences. CHAMP uses PPM to develop and design collaborative projects and networks to improve health and well-being of communities by strengthening health information networks and sharing that information with community members, public health practitioners and policy makers. Population based health data are collected, geocoded, and combined with a coordinated set of photographs, narratives and focus group data. PPM produces a rich set of qualitative and quantitative data about the experience of health and place.
The results of CHAMP aim to enhance health information systems and advise public health and policy decision makers. This information will improve health and well being of communities by providing decision makers, including policy makers, family medicine and public health practitioners, with useful environmental and socio-economic data linked to specific rural and urban neighborhoods.
Insights that emerged from this study are used to identify community assets and barriers impacting health and safety outcomes. CHAMP will use this information to strengthen health information systems by sharing information with stakeholders. CHAMP will develop, implement, evaluate and share a collaborative data collection and analysis model that contributes to a more holistic community health assessment. Once completed, the project will deliver a set of tools and methods for implementing the CHAMP model in other local health departments. CHAMP partner organizations will remain as an important clearinghouse to deliver materials and case studies via the CHAMP website. Additionally, CHAMP will use findings as a way to translate research into practice and policy and justify early intervention and supportive services.
Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program, and Project Coordinator is funded through UW Madison Population Health Fellowship Program - University of Wisconsin - Madison.