Action Step 3: Review All 5 CHANGE Sectors

CHANGE is divided into five sectors for assessment:

The Community-At-Large Sector includes community-wide efforts that impact the social and built environments, such as food access, walkability or bikeability, tobacco-free policies, and personal safety.

The Community Institution/Organization (CIO) Sector includes entities within the community that provide a broad range of human services and access to facilities, such as childcare settings, faith- based organizations, senior centers, boys and girls clubs, health and wellness organizations, YMCAs, and colleges and universities.

The Health Care Sector includes places people go to receive preventive care or treatment, or emergency health care services, such as hospitals, private doctors’ offices, and community clinics.

The School Sector includes all primary and secondary learning institutions (e.g., elementary, middle, and high schools, whether private, public, or parochial).

The Work Site Sector includes places of employment, such as private offices, restaurants, retail establishments, and government offices.

Within each CHANGE sector are modules (i.e., leadership, chronic disease management, demographics, physical activity, after school, district, tobacco, and nutrition) that contain the specific questions to be asked for each sector. For example, within the Community-At-Large Sector, Physical Activity Module, a CHANGE item is “To what extent does the community institute mixed land use?” As your team reviews the sectors, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the modules and the information within each. Please note District and After School are modules found only in the School Sector.

Examples of Questions for each Sector:

The CHANGE tool assists in gathering information about specific community health indicators and identifying areas for improvement in each sector. The CHANGE tool enables you to document changes made as problem areas are identified, new policies are implemented, and environmental change strategies are put into place. Make sure to review all five sectors prior to completing the assessment, so your community team understands what is being assessed and can brainstorm whom to include and the sites to use. Specific instructions on how many sites to visit within each sector are included in Action Step 4.

Use the Dialogue Guide shown below to develop “talking points” for why you are conducting CHANGE and what help you need to complete it. Use it when identifying participants to provide data, to introduce the concept to your community team, or to explain the process to anyone who is curious about CHANGE activities. This Dialogue Guide also helps to standardize language being used by the community team to discuss CHANGE activities. Community team members should speak with one voice to ensure consistency of message.

Dialogue Guide:

  • CHANGE is a data-collection tool and planning resource for community members interested in making their community a healthy community.
  • CHANGE provides a community snapshot of the policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place and helps identify areas for improvement. Examples of these strategies include tobacco-free policies at schools, healthy vending machine policies at work sites, safe sidewalks in all neighborhoods, and stair use promotion in public buildings. The strategies CHANGE measures are all population-based; CHANGE does not measure individual-level strategies, such as health fairs and cooking classes.
  • Completing CHANGE involves working together to answer questions about specific community sectors (i.e., Community-At-Large Sector, Community Institution/Organization Sector, Health Care Sector, School Sector, and Work Site Sector). Each sector is made up of multiple modules (e.g., physical activity, nutrition, tobacco use, chronic disease management, leadership). As a group, we will decide whether to complete all sectors of CHANGE as a whole team or divide into subgroups and report results back to the whole team.
  • Completing sectors involves answering questions about our community. We will decide what methods this requires, for example talking with a community leader from this sector to gather additional information, walking or driving through the community, calling people we know in the setting who could answer the question for us, or other methods. We can also answer questions by reviewing results from other community assessments we, or other community members, have conducted here. Since CHANGE is not an interview guide, multiple methods may be required to complete the tool and gain an accurate picture of our community.
  • Having broad participation from the community is important. We hope to include key persons from the community — school superintendents and principals, school board members, business leaders, mayors, city council members, department of health directors, city planners, departments of park and recreation, police chiefs, hospital administrators, medical staff chiefs, faith leaders, daycare owners, YMCA directors, and others — who have access to the information we need or can point us in the right direction.
  • As we identify problem areas, implement policies, and put strategies into place, we can use CHANGE to document this work within our community. The tool can be utilized annually to review past efforts and offer ideas for the year ahead. Because we will be documenting and storing all data we collect to complete CHANGE, we will be creating an important record about our community’s assets, needs, and priorities.
  • CHANGE is not used to compare sectors, to compare one community to another, or to find fault in our community for our weaknesses. Instead, it is used by us to identify areas in our own community to highlight our strengths. It is up to us to decide if sharing CHANGE data with the public or outside of the community team is warranted in order to rally attention or public support for our efforts. Confidentiality is always an important element of data-collection; thus, we will not list who we talked with or provide specific details about data that could be specifically linked to an individual, community organization, or institution.
  • CHANGE has already been used by communities like ours. Users have noted how helpful the tool is for identifying possible policy, systems, and environmental change strategies; guiding conversations and generating ideas for community change; providing a systematic way for communities to assess and plan for change; reviewing numerous sectors of their community, including schools, businesses, work sites, and health care settings; and promoting collaboration among community members.
Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity