The BUILD Health Challenge followed six communities that participated in its first cohort of awardees on their journey to drive sustainable improvements in community health. The final case study in this series highlights the efforts of the Healthy Ontario Initiative (HOI) based in Ontario, California. This collaborative set out to reduce obesity and obesity-related diseases in one of Ontario’s lowest-income neighborhoods through community-based leadership. In 2017, 67 percent of adults in Ontario were overweight or obese, and 4 out of the 10 leading causes of death were nutrition-related.
In all aspects of the initiative—from project inception to evaluation of outcomes—HOI worked with residents to tackle health challenges and food insecurity issues. Together, they developed one-stop centers, or Health Hubs, for innovative care delivery; trained five community residents to work as Promotoras, or case managers at the Health Hubs; created healthy dining and community-supported agriculture options; offered programs for tracking health; and successfully fostered resident leadership with working groups to ensure continuation of the efforts.
Highlights from this team’s efforts include:
- Creating and operating an online data platform that offered the first subcounty health statistics of primary data to local health providers that could be scaled citywide. Prior to HOI creating the new data plat-form and record system, the lack of subcounty health statistics had made it difficult for HOI partners and others to truly understand the health needs of residents. This previously nonexistent data allowed them to track BMI metrics to measure success toward decreasing the growth rate of adult residents diagnosed as overweight or obese.
- Measuring a 20% improvement in BMI for 402 participating residents in the scaled-up Know Your Numbers campaign across five Health Hubs, surpassing the two-year goal to reach 250 residents.
- Operating five Health Hubs (one was newly added; four were fully functional during the project period).
- Integrating five clinical community health workers, or Promotoras, across the Health Hubs and within the partners’ systems.
Be sure to also check out the BUILD webinar on the HOI case study featuring two very special guests: Evette De Luca, MSI, Healthy Ontario Network Weaver and President of The Social Impact Artists, and Julie Dorey, Healthy Ontario Co-Lead and Director of Ontario Recreation and Community Services. Together, they presented an overview of their two year effort with BUILD, outcomes, and lessons learned to help inform others also working to improve community health.