Assessing public health capacity to support community-based heart health promotion: the Canadian Heart Health Initiative, Ontario Project (CHHIOP)
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This paper presents initial findings of the Canadian Heart Health Initiative, Ontario Project (CHHIOP). CHHIOP has two primary objectives. The programmatic objective is to coordinate and refine a system for supporting effective, sustained community-based heart health activities. This paper addresses the scientific objective: to develop knowledge of factors that influence the development of predisposition and capacity to undertake community-based heart health activities in public health departments. A systems theory framework for an ecological approach to health promotion informs the conceptualization of the key constructs, measured using a two-stage longitudinal design which combines quantitative and qualitative methods. This paper reports the results of the first round of quantitative survey data collected from all health departments in Ontario (N = 42) and individuals within each health department involved in heart health promotion (n = 262). Results indicate low levels of implementation of heart health activities, both overall and for particular risk factors and settings. Levels of capacity are also generally low, yet predisposition to undertake heart health promotion activities is reportedly high. Analyses show that implementation is positively related to capacity but not predisposition, while predisposition and capacity are positively related. Overall, results suggest predisposition is a necessary but not sufficient condition for implementation to occur; capacity-related factors appear to be the primary constraint. These findings are used to inform strategies to address CHHIOP's programmatic objective.
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