Build Coalitions and Develop Leaders Through Health Systems Work
Goal / Mission
Families in Good Health (FIGH), a multilingual, multicultural health and social education program at Dignity Health Systems hoped to provide an avenue for sustained leadership development, a voice to youth, and a place for engaging the community to build a healthy coalition for Southeast Asians, Latinos, and other communities in Long Beach California. They accomplished this by creating an adult coalition to build community capacity and a separate youth leadership development program to train the next generation of coalition leaders through the Educated Men with Meaningful Messages (EM3) project.
Community capacity building begins with an assessment of a community’s resources and stakeholders and is sustained through empowering individuals to develop a strong coalition for embedding change. Dignity Health Systems in Long Beach, CA created a multilingual, multicultural health and education program to help Southeast Asian, Latino, and other communities underserved by current health and social resources in Southern California. FIGH felt that successful policy change comes from successful coalition building. With this in mind, FIGH was tasked with setting up programming for family planning and parenting, youth leadership development, refugee services, tobacco prevention groups, and an adult coalition to assist communities in providing solutions to social issues and advocating for a healthier, safer city.
FIGH began by creating a youth leadership program in 1995-1996 to encourage adolescents to advocate for themselves and their communities. Through the Educated Men with Meaningful Messages (EM3) project, FIGH developed a coalition, advocacy, and health education program consisting of youth ages 14-19. The program provided culturally competent mentoring, career exploration, cultural activities, community engagement, leadership training, and healthy relationship workshops to underserved, at-risk, and multiethnic youth and allowed for youth to take part in civic change through education of city council and policy makers.
An adult coalition with tailored outreach and community strategies was also formed. FIGH used the resources to identify stakeholders for coalition work and this combined with funding from the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) to create the Los Angeles Tobacco Prevention Network (LATPN) to support a smoke-free ordinance in CA. Through partner collaboration with the Asian Pacific Clinics and Koreatown Youth Community Center (KYCC), LATPN works to ensure health equity and reduce tobacco use and eliminate the tobacco epidemic in Los Angeles.
- Develop planning team
- Identify initial planning team
- Discuss additional needed stakeholders and disciplines/sub sectors in community that will be helpful for coalition work and add additional planning team members
- Identify planning team tasks and assign tasks to members
- Develop coalition
- Identify steps to form coalition including needed subsectors and stakeholders and champions
- Contact community members to create coalition representative body and involve stakeholders and champions identified
- Partner with different organizations and build relationships with community members
- Map agency resources and needs
- Perform community assessment and create educational awareness of issues for policy change
- Present information to community leaders to create a critical mass for change and encourage leaders to consider policy change priorities as part of policy agendas
Impact / Results / Accomplishments / Outcomes
The impact of this project was that FIGH was able to develop sustained leadership and engagement among youth. By building a framework to maintain a strong youth coalition and elevate leadership development, FIGH advanced the advocacy and community organizing efforts in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. FIGH’s direct engagement of youth strengthened the collective voice to build partnerships within the community and relationships with city council/leaders.
FIGH built a sustainable youth program that was expanded from 5 to 15 youth. Each of these youth learned about policy work and how best to engage future leaders on community issues in tobacco work and strengthening work within their own communities. Youth learned appropriate strategies for to counter the tobacco industry and commercial tobacco use through public policy, civic engagement, mass communications and media, and public speaking as well as many other public affairs professional development. They also earned letters of recommendation for career building and tertiary (college/university) and vocational (technical/vocational) schools and pursuit of higher levels of education. The youth program is also a feeder program for the adult coalition.
FIGH successfully leveraged stakeholders in the creation of an adult coalition to identify community participants and local struggles with commercial tobacco enhanced grassroots anti-tobacco strategy.
The successful strategies of coalition building and youth engagement used by FIGH/Dignity can be applied and adapted from the following lessons learned:
- Working with a diverse community can be challenging. It is important to coordinate, collaborate with, and involve community partners from the very beginning in order to get to know and understand the community and its priorities
- Learn and Trust in the community voice
- Reach out to the community to establish a coalition and use those resources to help inform data collection and further inform community policy change initiatives
- Relationship building is key to a successful coalition
About this Promising Practice (Contact information)
- Organization(s): Families in Good Health (FIGH/ Dignity Health Systems, APPEAL
- Primary Contact(s): APPEAL staff, Rod Lew [email protected] and Michelle Jeu [email protected]; FIGH staff, Ladine Chan [email protected] and Veasna Mai [email protected]
- Authors: APPEAL Staff with informant interviews from FIGH staff Ladine Chan and Veasna Mai
- Topic(s): Youth engagement, Youth Leadership development, Coalition building, Commercial Tobacco Control
- Source: APPEAL Staff with informant interviews from FIGH staff Ladine Chan and Veasna Mai
- Date of Publication: N/A
- Date of Implementation: 1995
- Location: Long Beach, CA and Greater Los Angeles, CA metropolitan area
- More details (web address for study):
- Target Audience: Tobacco Coalitions, Policy makers, Community Based Organizations
Advocacy, Assessments Data Research, Capacity Building, City Council, Coalition Building, Commercial Tobacco, Community Engagement, Community Partnerships, Community Readiness, Cultural Tailoring, Cessation, Health Systems, Implementation Strategies, Interventions, Language Barriers, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mass Communications, Media, Outreach, Policy, Policy Change, Policymakers, Program, Southeast Asians, Tobacco Control and Prevention, Tobacco Prevention, Youth, Youth Engagement
Capacity Building, Cessation, Coalition Building, Community Engagement, Community Partnerships, Countering Tobacco Industry, Health Equity, Health Systems, Infrastructure, Interventions, Leadership, Mass Communications, Policy, Tobacco Control and Prevention, Youth Engagement
Primary Audience Focus:
Coalitions, Community Based Organizations, Nonprofits, Policymakers, Men, Women, Teens/Adolescents (13-18), Young Adults (19-24)
Type of Resource:
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523