JSI RESOURCES: Journal article

Overcoming Challenges Resulting From COVID-19: New York State’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Initiative

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“Upstream” interventions that increase access or reduce barriers to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity — referred to as policy, systems, or environmental strategies — are central to encouraging and supporting healthy behaviors that prevent chronic disease at a population level. However, they are complex and challenging to execute, especially during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and efforts to build practitioner capacity are warranted. In this commentary, we describe a user or human-centered design (HCD) capacity-building approach to support practitioners in accomplishing the goals of the New York State Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) initiative. This approach has been especially helpful during COVID-19, as it enables support to be responsive to practitioners’ constantly changing needs. Given that CHSC is a project specific to New York State and that the efforts of the Obesity Prevention Center for Excellence were tailored to obesity prevention, more research and evaluations should be conducted to better understand how the use of HCD could support practitioners addressing other complex public health issues in the United States.

Authors: Tammy Calise, Amelia Fox, Amanda Ryder, Laura Rios Ruggiero, 2020.

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