Program Assessment and Capacity Building

Where will I find the Toolkit section?

Program Assessment and Capacity Building begins on p.19 of the Toolkit!

What will I find in the Toolkit section?

  • Tools for assessing my program’s capacity to plan and implement obesity-related initiatives through a health equity lens.
  • Recommended assessment tools, including:
    • Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA)
    • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • Tools and resources to address capacity needs within my organization or program.
  • Recommended steps for developing an action plan to increase capacity and address organizational gaps.

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Why conduct a program assessment?

A successful program assessment will highlight capacities within and surrounding the participating organization, target population, and problem. Identifying what resources are available and gaps that need to be addressed will facilitate the development of program priorities, strategies, and action steps. Capacity assessments provide transparency of strengths and weaknesses in regards to planning and delivering obesity-related initiatives with a health equity lens. Identifying areas of weakness and bolstering capacity is crucial for ensuring success of the program.

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When to conduct a program assessment?

An effective program assessment may be conducted:

  • As an initial step in the development of a new program.
    At this point, a program assessment will identify all available resources and gaps in resources.
  • Following data collection
    Having a baseline understanding of obesity disparities and their contributing factors can help you determine if your organization has the capacity to address them.
  • On existing obesity-related programs to determine their impact on health equity.

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How to conduct an assessment and build capacity?

The Toolkit recommends instruments for conducting general assessments and specific program guides for assessing your program or organization’s capacity for delivering health equity focused initiatives.

Keep in mind that a comprehensive program assessment reviews both internal and external capabilities and the resources that surround your current or future program.

Following a program assessment, areas of needed capacity will become visible. Various online and in-person trainings and print materials are recommended on pp. 20-23 of the Toolkit to help you address capacity building needs.

Once you have identified areas of needed capacity for your program, and reviewed available resources for addressing these needs, the final step is to develop an action plan.

In the development of your action plan remember to consider:

  • Overall Context of Health Equity
    Continually orient the focus to obesity disparities and their contributing factors.
  • Partnership Building
    Leverage resources in needed areas.
  • Sustainability
    Build capacity and obtain resources needed for long term activities and outcomes.
  • Cultural Competence
    Includes assessment of internal and external capacities to accommodate varying languages, assumptions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of different racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups throughout the overall planning process.

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