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Tuesday December 12th 2017

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Shining Light on the Backyard Initiative’s 2016 Evaluation

Community Ownership of the Process

The Backyard Initiative’s (BYI) evaluation process has been informed, driven, and owned by the community in which a survey was administered in 2016. The level of community empowerment the BYI has achieved has been eight years in the making; but it was this level of empowerment that was required in order to successfully complete the survey.

This process challenged many of the ways conventional evaluation is usually thought about and implemented. Community members spoke forcefully about not wanting outsiders to evaluate the project to “prove” that it was successful. Community members wanted this evaluation to uncover what they valued in the BYI, to “make the invisible, visible.”

Self-evaluation is a critical aspect of the process that has allowed for the BYI’s community and institution partnership to stay together and progressively build on the community’s capacity to take ownership of its own health. It was also the only way the evaluation of the BYI was able to achieve a high level of participation and engagement from community members.

The Team

The BYI Assessment Team (composed of many of the members of the Community Health Action Teams or CHATs plus Cultural Wellness Center (CWC) and Allina staff) approved the evaluation goals and design for 2016, and an evaluation team composed of CHAT leaders, CWC and Allina Health staff was created to carry out the evaluation goals. Early in the year, the team created and implemented a method for documenting all activities of the BYI. Activities are documented around the four Health Priority Areas. (see shaded box)

The 2016 Evaluation Findings: The summary of the Backyard Initiative’s 2016 evaluation findings has been compiled into a report. BYI’s Community Commission on Health is developing a plan that will include events to circulate the report in the community. To find out more about the evaluation process, findings or when community events will occur where the report is shared, please visit the BYI Resource Center in the Midtown Global Market or call them at 612-353-6211.

To find out more about the evaluation process, findings or when community events will occur where the report is shared, please visit the BYI Resource Center in the Midtown Global Market or call them at 612-353-6211.

The Four Health Priority Areas of the BYI

Social Cohesion: The sense of community and belonging that community members have. Community members feel they live in a place where people trust and respect each other and have a sense of responsibility to take care of each other.

Social Support: The support that a community member receives from and gives to the community members around them, including emotional and spiritual support, help with daily needs and crises, and the sharing of advice, information, and feedback.

Health Education: The degree to which community members and their families have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health. This includes information about what is essential to health (the importance of the family, community, spirituality, the environment, culture, food, sleep, and movement) as well as the medical information needed to address a specific health condition.

Health Empowerment: Community members are active participants in their self-care, and have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to manage their health and health care and collaborate with health practitioners.

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