2 DBQ/2 peer response

DescriptionDBQ#1 (300-400 WORDS)
1. What are your thoughts about the shift from needs-based assessments to
asset/capacity assessments? Which one do you think would be more beneficial
to have when planning a community organizing initiative? Why?
2. What primary and secondary building blocks/assets do you think impacts the
health and wellness in your community/neighborhood? How do you know?
3. Define organizational mileage in your own words.
a. What factors(s) did you not consider when selecting your health issue
(awareness of depression in young people) this semester?
1. I think that the shift from needs-based assessments to asset/capacity-based assessments is incredibly
beneficial and more sustainable to community organizing initiatives. As discussed throughout various
weeks this semester, community organizing is most effective if community members are empowered and
engaged. Asset/capacity-based assessments shift the narrative and enable communities to look deeper
within and utilize the assets that already exist within their community. I also feel that this approach assists
in dismantling systems of oppression that uphold white supremacy and the ‘savior complex’. This
approach gives the power back to the community rather than simply highlighting their shortcomings.
2. Faith-based organizations, personal income, and individual capacities are important primary building
blocks that impact the health and wellness of many Black Americans. Faith-based organizations are
known to assist the community in alleviating food insecurity, which ultimately affects individual health.
Furthermore, personal income is a well-known social determinant of health that affects many Black
Americans who are among the most financially vulnerable populations in America. Finally, it is arguable
that individual capacities present opportunities for financial gain and wealth which are also determinants
of health. I think that police and hospitals are the two main secondary building blocks/assets that affect
Black Americans the most. We cannot doubt the presence of police brutality which has not only explicitly
taken the lives of many Black men and women in America, but also has lasting effects on the physical
and mental health of the Black community. Additionally, medical racism that exists within institutions such
as hospitals has a major effect on the health and wellbeing of Black Americans. This can be used to
explain why Black women in America are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related
complications compared to white American women.
3. Organizational mileage is used to assess how much growth a grassroots organization has been able to
make. It helps assess the strength of reach, support, and structure of an organization. The factors that I
did not consider when selecting food insecurity in the South Bronx were staffing and communications. My
initial plan was to collaborate with existing organizations that are already working to alleviate food
insecurity in the South Bronx however, I didn’t account for the responsibilities associated with paid staff.
The assumption was that volunteers would be sufficient but, there is an overhead cost associated with
staffing that must be considered. I also did not consider how difficult it would be to get in contact with
members of these organizations. I assumed that it would be much easier and that the turnaround time for
communication would be much quicker.
I believe that both approaches for conducting community assessments have their pros, cons, and
appropriate conditions for being used.
Personally, my philosophy would rely more heavily on an assets-based approach because it makes more
sense to start with the resources that are already available. For example, how many of you know who to
call or seek counsel from concerning a community concern or query? Speaking for myself, I’ve only
become aware of my community board’s location and services that they offer. Some of which include
free exercise classes, parenting conferences, on-site open houses for job opportunities, and regular
meetings to discuss community affairs. I’ve really come to learn all of this because of this class and being
required to get involved in organizing events. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t have been the case that I made
the effort because of a course requirement. Now think about the many residents, especially those that
are not concerned with public health initiatives, and question how community assets are underutilized
because many people simply do not make the effort? However, it’s common to hear conversations
about what the community needs before hearing what the community already has to offer. Also,
performing an assets-based approach can be empowering and unifying for community members. It’s
very similar to having a personal stake/investment in the asset and therefore, a greater interest to
preserve and upkeep the community.
On the other hand, performing a community needs assessment can address what external resources are
needed to improve conditions. For example, there may be a great need for an urgent care facility that
can minimize the commute for residents to receive medical attention. It’s not necessarily an approach
that focuses on a community’s weaknesses. Rather, it should probably be looked at with the perspective
of adding new assets and fortifying the community.
I believe that applying both forms of assessments would serve to perform a thorough analysis that offers
the best opportunity for designing an intervention.
Going back to my neighborhood, it is a lower-income community that is susceptible to gentrification by
investors who’re more interested in returns on investment through realty. Therefore, personal income
may not be a strong asset that ultimately bolsters the community’s health. However, we do have
financial institutions like M&T Bank, faith-based and cultural organizations, and local businesses. These
primary building blocks serve to preserve a lot of the community’s personality. However, the threat of
external forces does threaten our assets and I’m seeing a gradual exodus of former residents leave to go
somewhere more affordable. This causes us to lose individual capacities who’re potentially instrumental
to upkeeping the home-based enterprises and localities that give the community its character.
Additionally, my neighborhood also offers secondary building blocks like public schools, libraries, the
NYPD, and FDNY. However, I couldn’t seriously tell someone where the nearest hospital, or higher
education institution was without remarking that their proximity is still out of reach for many residents.
Also, once again, opportunities for using vacant land are being seized by developers instead of
community members who may have a different idea for usage. Personally, I believe that the secondary
building blocks are still inefficient as assets and need to be revamped. Otherwise, the community’s
health and wellness will continue to diminish along with its character.
I would define the term “organizational mileage” as the necessary components to ensure the longevity
of an organization and its mission. Considerations like staffing, membership, target systems influenced,
and finances remind me of the principles that are covered in the PUBH 612 course for program planning
and evaluation. In this course, students learn how to design and evaluate the effectiveness of a
program/intervention. While iterative, this process combs through fine details that could greatly
influence a project’s health and direction.
For my own project, I think I could have done a better job with addressing the finances and goal
While I did discuss at length the need for promoting P.E for Hispanic children, I did not offer a playbook
for actionable solutions. For example, it’s one thing to state that more funding is needed for optimizing
P.E in public schools. However, I did not suggest where these funds would come from or how to raise
the required capital. Additionally, my issue analysis paper could have included a timeline of the
program/intervention’s milestones if I discussed the issue from a solution-based perspective.
2. The CDC lays out six steps to building evaluation capacity: 1. Engage stakeholders. 2 Describe
the program. 3. Focus the evaluation. 4. Gather credible evidence. 5. Justify conclusions. 6.
Ensure Use, Share Lessons. What do you think is the most important step in this process? Why?
How might this framework inform your group planning work on your health topic (Mental
health and depression) intervention?

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