AUNE’s Center for Research on Psychological Practice to Evaluate Vision 2020

AUNE’s Center for Research on Psychological Practice (CROPP) has taken on the task of evaluating Keene’s Vision 2020 program. CROPP’s director Jim Fauth and George Tremblay, both core faculty members in the Department of Clinical Psychology, and two PsyD students will take a rigorous look at this broad, ambitious program to see how it’s working and how it might be improved.

Vision 2020 is a community-wide health initiative, housed in Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK), which is designed to engage the people of Cheshire County in becoming the healthiest community in the nation by 2020. After a community summit in May 2010, goals were set for each of five health care indicators: health status, health care access, health literacy, wellness and social capital.

CMC/DHK contracted with Antioch New England Institute in 2008 through 2010 to obtain baseline data on these indicators. Now CROPP will survey the community to try to answer more in-depth questions. Is Vision 2020 helping the community achieve its intended goals, and how? If not, how can efforts be improved? How can Vision 2020 most effectively engage the community, which is at the core of the project?

“We are trying to set up real learning opportunities for Vision 2020 about what is or is not working, and how to improve it,” said Fauth. “We are designing an evaluation that tests some core assumptions about community engagement.”

First step: the Champions
CROPP’s work will focus initially on the Champions program. This part of Vision 2020 is a community engagement program that asks individuals and organizations to take pledges to make changes in their lifestyles or policies that align with the program’s goal of becoming the healthiest community in the nation. CROPP will evaluate whether people are changing their behavior and recruiting others to do the same †if, in fact, the Champions idea is working.

“It’s a really good relationship because we’re eager and excited to try new methods that they’re creating with the evaluation,” said Yvonne Goldsberry, senior director of community health at CMC/DHK. “They’re applying techniques usually used in a more clinical setting to a change model. And they make it seem way easier than it is!”

“It’s good for us to have academic rigor applied to what we’re doing,” Goldsberry said. “Someday we’ll be asked about Vision 2020: ‘How do you know you’re the healthiest community? How do you know that what you have done has worked?’ And we’ll be able to answer.”

The Keene Sentinel ran an article about CROPP’s evaluation of Vision 2020 in its October 31 issue. You can find it here.