Community health planning is a rapidly growing area of expertise in which professionals work with neighborhood residents, community institutions, and government agencies to identify obstacles to improving health and opportunities for overcoming those obstacles. The course will teach students specific skills in community assessment and analysis, and introduce them to people and organizations actively trying to increase public participation and to influence public policy decision-making.
This course engages students in these efforts by exploring the historical foundations and current events in community health planning and policy. Numerous groups have sprung up to try to change neighborhood conditions, mobilize residents, and influence health policy debates. The course will introduce students to methods for identifying neighborhood strengths and weaknesses, to be a part of mobilization efforts, and to understand contemporary health policy debates.
Students will be given the skills necessary to initiate a community assessment and analysis. Class sessions will be devoted to teaching students how to find information about specific places from the United States Census, health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California State Department of Health Services. Further, we will discuss surveying community assets and interviewing community residents in focus groups and community dialogues.