This project began during lunch on day 1 of a two-day training workshop at the Honolulu Airport in the spring of 1997. The workshop was on the development of community coalitions for health improvement, and was delivered at the request of the Chronic Disease Branch Chief of the State of Hawai’i Department of Public Health. Many employees of the health department from Honolulu, and several of the neighbor islands, attended. Present were health educators, public health nurses, epidemiologists, branch chiefs from several divisions, and the Directors of the two District Health Offices (one from Kauai, and the other from Hilo). We covered topics such as models of community health improvement, multi-sectoral action planning for systems improvement, program development, and evaluation.
By noon on the first day, one table was absolutely buzzing with excitement. At the table were 6 public health nurses, 3 health educators, and the district health officer. Everyone at that table grew-up and worked on the Big Island. On the back of a napkin, they sketched an idea for a community health improvement initiative that would later be named I-Files. The idea was simple — for each of the 6 districts on the Big Island, develop teams of 3 people to include someone specializing in community mobilization and action planning, another person specializing in grant writing, and another person who would be trained in evaluation. They would develop community partnerships to address the most pressing health issues in their district, and mobilize the people and financial resources needed to resolve the issues.
Many of the programs and efforts begun in 1997 continue to this day (2016). To learn more about the effort, read the case study at http://www.commleadsquaredllc.com/?p=41. There is a companion presentation with additional details, and data from the project that demonstrates the effect on systems improvements related to locally-identified issues. Many leaders who got their start with I-Files went-on to develop companies and many other community health improvement programs -- not the least of which is the
Ka'u Rural Health Community Association, begun by community leader Jessie Marques from Ka'u on the Big Island.
Other major accomplishments included:
Many other accomplishments occured since 1998 when this effort began.