The KU Work Group on Community Health and Development provides a range of useful planning resources on community development as one crucial direction for improving population health and addressing health inequities. Established in 1975, it was designated by the World Health Organization as a WHO Collaborating Centre in 2004 Its core values and assumptions are:
- Building healthy communities involves improving conditions and outcomes for the health and well-being of the population as a whole.
- This requires changing conditions, including environmental and policy conditions, that affect behaviors and related outcomes.
- Since health and human development outcomes are caused by multiple and interconnected factors, single interventions are likely to be insufficient.
- Since environmental influences occur in different contexts, collaborative efforts must bring about changes in multiple sectors and systems.
- Local people, including those most affected, should be active participants in changing local conditions.
- Justice requires health and well being for all, including for marginalized groups that have different exposures, vulnerabilities, and consequences related to their situations.
- To improve health for all requires addressing broader social determinants, such as social inclusion, income equality, and efficacy or the ability to have influence on conditions.
- Collaborative partnerships act as catalysts for change; they convene key parties, broker relationships, and leverage needed resources.
- The aim of support organizations is to build capacity to address what matters to people over time and across concerns.
- Community health and development involves interdependent relationships among multiple parties in which none can function fully without collaboration with others.
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. They also publish many guidelines and tool kits for health planning and community development, and provide links to a range of articles and reports.