Our KU Work Group collaborates with grantmakers and other partners to support and evaluate efforts to build healthier communities. We do so through an integrated program of research, teaching, and public service. The KU Work Group is affiliated with the Department of Applied Behavioral Science and the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at the University of Kansas.
Since 1975, generations of Ph.D.-level researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and professional staff have carried on, and found meaning in, this effort. The Work Group has developed widely-used capabilities for: a) Community evaluation and community-based participatory research (including its Online Documentation and Support System) and b) Building capacity for community health and development (including the Community Tool Box, Community Workstations, and CTB Curriculum).
Why the KU Work Group?
Throughout the world, people are working together to build healthier communities. They join in common purpose to promote community and public health, child and youth development, and community development. Locally, nationally, and globally, we are working together to understand and transform the conditions that matter to people..
Community work requires understanding. Through its research, the KU Work Group helps address key questions: What factors influence the process of community and systems change? Under what conditions are changes in communities and systems associated with improvements in population-level outcomes?
Community work needs support. Through technical assistance and consultation, our team assists organizations and funders with core activities. These include strategic and action planning, documenting and evaluating the work, and using information to make adjustments, assure accountability, and tell the group's story.
Community work demands capacity. We help build capabilities through training, technical assistance, and online support for being able to do the work and sustain it long enough to make a difference.
Social justice demands environments that help assure health and development for all of us. In our research, we seek understanding of how communities can be effective in addressing issues that matter. In our teaching and service, we share this knowledge with generations of community practitioners and students. Working together, we hope to learn and make a difference.
- Health and well-being for all of us
- People working together to learn and make a difference
- A talented, committed, and interdisciplinary team of scientists and practitioners
- Learning with and building capacity among those we serve
- Working with strategic partners engaged in social change at local, national, and global levels
The mission of the Work Group is: promoting community health and development through collaborative research, teaching, and public service.
To address this mission, we work with strategic partners locally, nationally, and globally. Our work is in three domains: a) Community and Public Health (e.g., prevention of substance abuse, violence; promotion of physical activity and healthy nutrition); b) Child/Youth Health and Development (e.g., prevention of adolescent pregnancy; promoting healthy youth development); and c) Community and Capacity Development (e.g., urban neighborhood development; training of leaders and change agents).
- Learn and discover what works in building healthier communities, and under what conditions.
- Have an impact on conditions that affect community health and development, including for underserved and marginalized groups.
- Enhance leadership and build capacity for this work locally, nationally, and globally.
Highlights of the KU Work Group:
- The Work Group's Community Tool Box (CTB) is the world's largest resource (over 7,000 pages of content) for building capacity for community health and development.
- Since 1995, the Work Group has worked with partners to study two big questions: How do people work together to bring about change in communities? And, under what conditions are these changes associated with improvement in community health and development?
- Our community evaluation and measurement system was recognized as a model by the U.S. Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention, and was disseminated widely in Evaluating Community Efforts to Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases published by the C.D.C.
- The Work Group's framework for collaborative community action was used by the Institute of Medicine to help frame its report on the Future of Public Health in the 21st Century.
- In 2004, our center was officially designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.