Phase 1: Commitment


Audio File (5 minutes)

Listen to David Ellsworth, State Expert Advisor for Ohio, talk about his role and the importance of partnership development for community engagement.

View Transcript » pdf icon[PDF – 103 KB]

Commitment is the first phase of the Inclusive Healthy Communities Model in which you are putting together a community coalition, or a group of community members and partners to work together towards a common goal. The other five phases will build upon what you do in this initial phase.

Within the Commitment Phase, you will

  • Build a community coalition, or enhance an existing one, that will work towards making healthy living easier for people with disabilities where they live, learn, work, play, pray, or receive care;
  • Encourage broader community engagement; and
  • Work on partnership development.

WHY is this phase important?

Businessman making a presentation to his fellow coworkers

Having a set of devoted community members and partners is key to building support and sustainability for your project activities. The group that you put together will work to develop and implement a vision for improving the health and well-being of people with disabilities within your community. You will work with community leaders, disability stakeholders, public health partners, decision-makers, and local stakeholders that are already involved, or you envision being involved, in your disability inclusion efforts.

WHAT activities take place during this phase?

  1. Determine which individuals and organizations to involve in your disability inclusion efforts. Identify a Community Coach that will lead the community coalition and work with you and your partners to implement the Inclusive Healthy Communities Model. It is best if the coaches represent local public health and disability organizations.
  2. Create your community coalition and make sure that it includes a set of members from a variety of sectors in the community (e.g., school, work site, health care). Community coalitions typically consist of 10-15 people; it is recommended that at least 20% of coalition members be people with disabilities.
  3. With input from the community coalition members, develop a shared vision, mission, and charter as a basis for informing your disability inclusion strategies. It is recommended that:
    • The vision statement focuses on the future and what the coalition wants to ultimately achieve.
    • The mission statement focuses on the present and what the coalition does to achieve its goals.
    • The charter statement be used to outline the goals, objectives and principles of the coalition. Focused objectives are  S.M.A.R.T, (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).

WHO needs to be involved in the community coalition?

Audio File (4 minutes)

Listen to David Ellsworth, State Expert Advisor for Ohio, provide tips for how to include people with disabilities in Community Coalitions.

View Transcript » pdf icon[PDF – 91 KB]
Icon: People

Consider including representatives from multiple sectors within your community, such as public health, city planning, transportation, parks and recreation, school, businesses, health care, public works, media, and elected officials. It is recommended that at least 20% of the coalition members be people with disabilities.

Ask yourself: “Is everyone at the table who needs to be at the table?” 

How much TIME does this phase take?

Calendar and clock icon

If you are establishing a community coalition for the first time, this process can take 2–4 months. If enhancing an existing coalition, it could take less time, approximately 1–2 months. Once your coalition is established, you may need to revisit the coalition’s membership on a regular basis to make sure that new partners are added based on group composition and the evolving focus of your disability inclusion efforts.

What does SUCCESS look like?

Man in wheelchair with family outside

A successful community coalition may have the following characteristics:

  • Shared disability inclusion vision and mission;
  • Understanding of member roles, expectations, and terms of service (if any), which is normally outlined in the charter;
  • Members who can collaborate, motivate, and communicate a common vision and mission;
  • Collective focus on achieving inclusive policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) improvements; and
  • Willingness to work together across the entire project period.