Objectives: To reflect upon a population health intervention for obesity and chronic disease prevention, with specific attention to the processes of change and developing, implementing and evaluating an intervention in a community–university–government partnership context. Methods: To capture the value, process and context of our interventions, we employed a multi-layered, mixed methods research and evaluation design. Guided by assumptions of community-based participatory research, and using a validated capacity-building tool, the investigators described and reflected critically upon the level and nature of capacity built (for both research and intervention) as indicators of the process and contextual influences on intervention success. Results: Capacity was built in communities through collaborative approaches. We captured complexity of change in social context to advance understanding of how to intervene to transform environments. Developing novel community evaluation strategies can help to advance understanding of how environmental interventions affect health before health outcomes data demonstrate change. Conclusions: Our experience provides an example of operationalizing an ecological framework. As a community–university–government partnership, Healthy Alberta Communities provides an opportunity for developing promising practices for the health of communities, as well as a unique research platform for evaluating the process and establishing effectiveness of population health interventions.
International Journal of Public Health Vol. 55, Issue 6, p. 679-686