Community Context and Planning

Effective program delivery does not occur in a vacuum.  It is easier to disseminate the programs when you understand and incorporate the environmental context of the populations to be reached.



COMMUNITY:  A group of people who share a common place, experience or interest.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT MODEL: also known as locality development, it is the process of mobilizing individuals and organizations to work together to address issues that are important to the community. Community development can include many different processes such as: 


  • Assessing the community to learn about its needs and resources. See Community Assessment Tool.
  • Involving other people, building relationships and forming teams that extend the staff resources to include community leaders, volunteers and other program personnel.
  • Organizing groups by establishing coalitions or collaborative partnerships among key organizations, such as AF chapters, state health departments, sustainable delivery systems, local service providers/ facilities, and other agencies that affect and/or have access to people with arthritis.


Many states receiving CDC funding and by AF chapters using a community development model have made efforts towards a community-based approach, including:


  • Data reports about the burden of arthritis (e.g., CDC’s BRFSS data), used to target program efforts to areas with the greatest need
  • Community assessments and mapping activities, highlighting areas not currently being reached by programs, potential system partners, and possible program locations
  • State arthritis and other chronic disease coalitions and steering/ advisory groups, which often include system partners and community leaders who can introduce new partners
  • State arthritis plan, which can provide a statewide vision, program goals and complementary activities, such as communication campaigns that raise awareness about arthritis and the programs

Find out what has already been done in your area and build on those efforts to develop a more focused and coordinated action plan for program implementation.

Chapter 1-2: Identifying Potential System Partners
Community Assessment Tool
Examples from the Field to learn how Illinois and Kansas have used data and mapping activities to target their efforts.
Chapter 2-12: Resources for Reaching Special Populations about using a community-based approach to work with underserved populations




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