Promoting Policy Development through Community Participatory Approaches to Health Promotion: The Philadelphia Ujima Experience

Candace Robertson-James, Lidyvez Sawyer, Ana Núñez, Bernadette Campoli, Diana Robertson, Amanda DeVilliers, Sharon Congleton, Stephen Hayes, Stephanie Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The Philadelphia Ujima Coalition for a Healthier Community (Philadelphia Ujima) promotes health improvement of girls, women, and their families using a gender framework and community-based participatory research approach to addressing gender-based disparities. Institutional policies developed through community-based participatory research approaches are integral to sustaining gender-integrated health-promotion programs and necessary for reducing gender health inequities. This paper describes the results of a policy analysis of the Philadelphia Ujima coalition partner sites and highlights two case studies. Methods: The policy analysis used a document review and key informant interview transcripts to explore 1) processes that community, faith, and academic organizations engaged in a community participatory process used to develop policies or institutional changes, 2) types of policy changes developed, and 3) initial outcomes and impact of the policy changes on the target population. Results: Fifteen policies were developed as a result of the funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. Policy changes included 1) healthy food options guidance, 2) leadership training on sexual and relationship violence, and 3) curricula and programming inclusion and expansion of a sex and gender focus in high school and medical school. Conclusions: Organizational practice changes and policies can be activated through individual-level interventions using a community participatory approach. This approach empowers communities to play an integral role in creating health-promoting policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S29-S37
JournalWomen's Health Issues
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017
Externally publishedYes

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