Learning Objectives: Identify the level of community organization and readiness to implement tobacco control programs in five communities.
Abstract: Objective: Identify the level of community organization and readiness to implement tobacco control programs in West Texas communities prior to delivery of a coalition-building workshop conducted by Texas Department of Health.
METHODS: A written survey was administered. The survey examined: 1) profiles of local coalitions, 2) what’s happening in each community, 3) coalition status, 4) planning/implementing stage(s) of community development, and 5) technical assistance needed/preferred. Participants represented five different communities; three of the five reported some type of tobacco control coalition.
RESULTS: Almost all participants reported the following perceptions: 1) Youth prevention, followed by cessation, were consistently perceived to be the highest community priorities across communities; 2) tobacco cessation programs for youth/adults were not readily available; 3) youth prevention programs and those to eliminate disparities were not adequate; and 4) policies to ban smoking in restaurants, cafeterias and indoor work places were not enforced. All communities reported some local opposition to tobacco control efforts and indicated many staff/volunteers were willing to implement the community plan, but had insufficient skills to carry out plans. Each community was at different stages of planning, development and implementation. Limited overlap existed between Communities of Excellence planning phases underway – suggesting “one training focus couldn’t fit all.”
Discussion: Sufficient indicators of strong likelihood of implementation were not reported by the majority of communities. Extensive, intensive training and technical assistance needs/preferences were identified among the communities. Similarities and differences across communities and within communities will be discussed with implications for planning, training, and resource allocation.
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