Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does the work of the Alliance for Healthy Communities differ from established, often school-based wellness and prevention programs?
A: As a community coalition, the Alliance for Healthy Communities (AHC) seeks to reduce specific health challenges by identifying and changing the community conditions that fuel these problems. Further, AHC works through regional partnerships in all aspects of its operations and implements its interventions 'at scale' across the community, as opposed to implementation within a particular location.
Q: What are the community conditions the Alliance for Healthy Communities seeks to change?
A: AHC is funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health to reduce the incidence of three health challenges facing our region: underage alcohol use, marijuana use and the risk of suicide among youth. Community-level data indicate that with regard to underage drinking and marijuana use, three community conditions contribute significantly to these long-standing challenges: (1) alcohol and marijuana are easy for kids to get, (2) community "norms" regarding these behaviors are relaxed and often contradictory and (3) as many as 2/3 of surveyed students report being disengaged from their schools and communities. With regard to 'suicidality' among youth, data indicate that the above noted 'disengagement' as well as stigma associated with needing help, are significant contributing factors.
Q: To change the targeted community conditions, what programs will the Alliance for Healthy Communities be implementing?
A: In response to the evidence noted above, AHC will be implementing three types of community programs. As AHC grows and gathers new data, these types of programs may be changed or replaced to better accomplish our goals. The three types of programs AHCcurrently supports are (a) law enforcement strategies, including medication take-backs, neighborhood party patrols and alcohol retailer compliance checks, (b) social norms strategies which are student driven campaigns incorporating marketing strategies to influence community perceptions of health issues and (c) engagement strategies, which emphasize connecting youth to meaningful involvement in their communities through leadership and service opportunities. AHC engagement strategies will be designed and managed by teams of youth from across the region.
Q: Who is eligible to participate as a partner in the Alliance for Healthy Communitiescoalition?
A: Participation in the Alliance is open to everyone who lives, works or attends school in our region. The Alliance is actively seeking community members who have an interest in community betterment and the time to participate in our work. The Alliance has initiated a youth coalition, Teen Voice for Change (TVC) through which area youth can participate in community change as well.