The design and facilitation of convenings for community-based organizations that received tobacco prevention grants from the Oregon Health Authority.
In 2019, Oregon passed Ballot Measure 108, increasing the cigarette tax by $2 a pack, generating millions of dollars in revenue for tobacco prevention work. The largest portion of this revenue was prioritized for organizations that serve communities experiencing higher rates of tobacco-related health disparities. Athena collaborated with Clackamas County Department of Public Health to design and facilitate two convenings to engage over fifty community-based organizations who received tobacco prevention grants from the Oregon Health Authority. Grant recipients serve culturally diverse communities and communities of color in the Tri-County metro region to address commercial tobacco-related health inequities. These generative conversations were facilitated with stakeholder engagement in mind, calling upon the effectiveness of co-design.
The tri-county Local Public Health Authorities were presented with the opportunity to forge a learning network with community-based organizations for advancing behavioral health initiatives, specifically targeting the prevention of future harm from commercial tobacco use. Rooted in equity and community involvement, the initiative produced an engagement prototype that centers the community's voice, provides trauma-informed feedback, and strengthens relationships among community-based organizations, government agencies, and community members. The planning team, inclusive of grantee representatives, developed a virtual community engagement program with adaptive dialogue, addressing key drivers of inequities.
"Nothing for us without us."
The model facilitated mapping discussions to examine harm and trauma, connecting observations to inequity drivers, such as discriminatory policies, mistrust, limited access to essential services, low health literacy, a history of racism, chronic stress, and poverty.
The project team achieved its immediate goals in fostering connections with community-based organizations and advancing collective ideation for impactful initiatives. The project's success stemmed from empowering community-based organizations in the design process, aligning with the understanding that solutions must involve those closest to the challenges. In an era emphasizing accountability in public systems, an inclusive civic engagement tool with system thinking becomes crucial for achieving higher purpose goals amidst polarization. Incorporating narrative and dialogical elements, particularly from clients and practitioners intimately familiar with the challenges, not only enhances trauma-informed care but also facilitates the upstream design and intentional downstream deployment of approaches, promoting the exchange of health literacy. Deep dialogue among community-based organizations, government agencies, and community members created pathways to address key drivers of inequities, from discriminatory policies to chronic stress and poverty, and mapping discussions back to these factors for comprehensive examination.
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