A Non-Traditional Alliance for Addressing Health Equity, Well-Being and Social Needs of Families

Piotr Bialowolski , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Eileen McNeely, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

There is a strong belief that community-based activities can play a role for improving health and well-being of populations. This research evaluated a new model of cooperation between non-traditional anchor institutions that worked together to advance community well-being. By establishing a savings account that gave a higher rate of return for increased use of the YMCA, a non-profit financial institution and YMCA partnered to directly impact community members’ health, well-being and social connectiveness. We found that the household members' participation in community activities offered by YMCA was not influenced by the financial incentive, mostly due to the weakness of the incentive. However, some positive effects on momentary well-being outcomes of sport-related YMCA visits was depicted. No effect of non-sport-related community experience was found. Also, no effect of the community activities was found on physiological health, self-reported health and well-being outcomes. The qualitative feedback from the in-depth interviews provided evidence on how YMCA engagement rallied other household members and seemed to foster a sense of connectedness in the community. The findings corroborate that implementing community-based interventions is not straightforward. The improvements in the design (i.e., competitive financial incentive) and marketing of the program should be considered to improve its efficiency at a household level.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course