For this project, a two-part investigation was conducted using geographic (objective-outsider) and social (subjective-insider) approaches in each of the four Alberta communities (City of Medicine Hat and Town of Redcliffe, North Central Edmonton, Town of Bonnyville, Town of St. Paul). Contextual factors identified through these approaches were used to inform the development and implementation of community-specific chronic disease prevention interventions. Ongoing, collaborative knowledge exchange was central to all of the project activities.
Geographic (objective-outsider) perspective: Place was captured through primary data collection and secondary data analysis strategies. Primary data collection involved direct observation of each community’s built environment. The observation tool was based on three existing tools: the Irvine-Minnesota Inventory served as the foundation, while the Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan and the Pedestrian Environment Data Scan contributed additional rating items. Secondary data included responses to socio-demographic and health questions from national surveys (Canadian Community Health Survey; General Social Survey) and other research projects (Healthy Alberta Communities). Data analysis questions were generated in collaboration with partners to inform the community health programme goals. Analysis of primary and secondary data was conducted to identify association between the built environment, physical activity, healthy eating and general health outcomes. Geographic Information Systems were also used to map patterns in the built environment, risk factor and health outcome data to inform community level public health planning and decision-making.
Social (subjective-insider) perspective: To understand the social (subjective-insider) perspective photovoice was used. Photovoice allowed residents to identify and present, through photography, perceived opportunities and barriers to physical activity and healthy eating.
Community-based interventions: Analysis of the qualitative data captured the meaning go the community environment as described by community members, and was synthesized with the data collected through the objective observation to support the identification of community issues most appropriate for intervention. Project working groups, composed of research team members and community partners, used this information in the development of community-specific interventions.
Collaborative Knowledge Exchange: The community interventions were considered community-based participatory projects due to the continuous involvement of the working groups in all stages. Throughout the projects lifespan the community partners brought together decision-makers for the presentation of project results.
A full copy of the project results shared with community partners and decision-makers is available at www.chbeprojects.com
For more information about this project contact: Laura Nieuwendyk, Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org