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MeasureUp Helps Evaluate Health Impacts

The Build Healthy Places Network last week announced the release of MeasureUp, a "microsite" to help community developers measure and communicate the impacts of their work on health factors for individuals, families and neighborhoods.

Community development practitioners are increasingly called upon to measure and demonstrate the results of their work, but it can be daunting to figure out how to measure, what to measure, when to measure and how to interpret their data.

Assessing and documenting the effects of our work is even more important when multiple sectors, like community development and public health, collaborate to help communities and families be well, live healthy lives, and ultimately help the nation reduce its enormous health care costs.

MeasureUp is designed to help community developers bridge the knowlege gap. MeasureUp has curated—in one place—the best examples of measurement and action in addressing the social determinants of health, from early planning stages to later evaluation and community engagement. It’s a one-stop shop for resources to help practitioners measure and communicate the impacts of their programs.

With MeasureUp, community developers can:

1. Measure health-related impacts and pick custom metrics using tried-and-true measurement tools.
Example: Metrics for Healthy Communities is a set of resources—from logic models to data sets—to help measure the impact of neighborhood investments on community health and well-being.

2. Use mapping tools to prioritize neighborhoods’ needs.
Example: The Child Opportunity Index and its corresponding interactive mapping tool help planners understand whether children of different racial and ethnic groups have equitable access to neighborhood resources including healthcare.  

3. Find a bounty of evidence for the impact of collaborative work on health and well-being.
Example: An issue brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the current evidence linking neighborhoods and health.

4. Make the case to funders and investors.
Example: A video and blog post from the US Green Building Council discusses the importance of developing health metrics for the real estate industry, to encourage investment in communities.

5. Find stories of success at the intersection of health and community development.
Example: Four stories from LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities initiative demonstrate a holistic approach to improving neighborhoods and lives.

6. Identify opportunities for partnerships with organizations in other sectors.
Example: The Quality of Life Plan brings a community together to map out its needs, potential solutions, and possible partners.

Not sure what “measurement” entails in community development and public health? Head to (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Measurement.

As new partnerships are forged and tools are developed, MeasureUp will continue to grow. Practitioners are encouraged to submit suggestions for improvements or additional resources.

Posted in Evaluating, Health & Wellness

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