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Sustainable health initiatives are those that maintain their benefits for communities and populations for years to come


Keeping health initiatives going requires coalitions, organizations and communities to focus on their assets and resources to improve the health of their community.1 The power of collaborative connections helps to build and sustain community capacity, enhance action and social change, and ultimately impact health outcomes at the individual and population level. 2,3

For more information listen to this TEDx Talk called Sustainable community development: from what’s wrong to what’s strong9.

How to keep it all going

  • Celebrating the small and large accomplishments4:
    • Keeps stakeholders and partners on track and motivated
    • Encourages new partners to get involved in community initiatives
    • Acts as a springboard for new initiatives
    • Helps the community understand the value and impact of creating supportive environments
  • Express thanks. As activities are completed, thank partners in person, by phone or e-mail. With their permission, give credit and public recognition for their support during meetings with other partners, during presentations, or through social media.
  • Communicate regularly. Check in often by phone or e-mail to talk about how activities are going and how partnerships are working for everyone involved. Discuss each partner’s goals for future activities and how to continue to work together.
  • Keep track of partnership activities and accomplishments, and share the results with partners. Ask partners if they are satisfied with the relationships.
  • Be flexible and open to change. Build on successes, address problems and explore ways to enhance active partnerships.5

Once you’ve accomplished a goal or two, circle back to your action plan to identify other ideas for community improvement. Then, cycle through the five steps for building a healthy community to chart another journey.  

Plan for next steps

Apply for new funding

Implement other items in your plans

Build new partnerships


There are many different ways to share community initiatives, whether a quick win, a great idea or a full blown project. Sharing experiences with others can help build capacity and better inform practice.6,7

Many communities identify sharing as an important aspect of community-led work, yet is often missed.

Check our Gathering Perspectives report to read what communities told us is important for building a healthy community8.

Your community has invested passion, time, and resources to achieve valued goals. It’s time to share your success! Stories allow others’ to build upon what one community has learned, and apply it to creating their own supportive environments. Stories inspire and mentor. Highlighting activities, outcomes, partnerships and/or policy changes, a great success story is a powerful way to spread the word about your work, AND a great way to inspire other communities to do like-wise!

  • View References

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Communities Program, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, & Division of Adult and Community Health. (2012). A sustainability planning guide for healthy communities. (). US: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

    2. Luque, J., Tyson, D. M., Lee, J. H., Gwede, C., Vadaparampil, S., Noel-Thomas, S., & Meade, C. (2010). Using social network analysis to evaluate community capacity building of a regional community cancer network.38, 656-668.

    3. Ramanadhan, S., Salhi, C., Achille, E., Baril, N., D'Entremont, K., Grullon, M., . . . Savage, C. (2012). Addressing cancer disparities via community network mobilization and intersectoral partnerships: A social network analysis. PLoS One, 7(2), e32130.

    4. Alberta Health Services. (2014). Comprehensive School Health: Celebrate and Share your Successes. Retrieved from Alberta: http://www.alberta­

    5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Road to Better Health: A Guide to Promoting Cancer Prevention in Your Community. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2012

    6. Kegler, M. C., Norton, B. L., & Aronson, R. (2007). Skill improvement among coalition members in the California healthy cities and communities program. Health Education Research, 22(3), 450-457. doi:cyl109 [pii]

    7. Fawcett, S. B., Collie-Akers, V., Schultz, J. A., & Cupertino, P. (2013). Community-based participatory research within the latino health for all coalition. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 41(3), 142-154.

    8. Gathering Perspectives Report

    9. Cormac Russel. Managing Director of Nurture Development, a leading Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)