The University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Health used The Community Guide
to select evidence-based practices that would form a multi-pronged approach to increase physical activity in the participating counties. The organizations successfully implemented evidenced-based strategies outlined in The Community Guide
through the WalkWorks program by including Community Wide Campaigns
, Behavioral and Social Approaches
, and Environmental and Policy Approaches to Increase Physical Activity
. WalkWorks was implemented from July 2010 to June 2012 through local stakeholders (Cambria, Greene, Venango, Crawford, Mckean, and Washington county) including schools, hospitals and transportation departments. These six counties used a Community Guide approach because they do not have a dedicated county health department. The Walkworks program ended in June 2012 due to a lack of funding.
The implementation of WalkWorks in six rural counties in Western Pennsylvania had more than 1400 participants engaging in large-scale walking events and the Mileage Club walking program. The program helped to identify 28 walking routes in the counties and sponsored 48 guided walking groups. WalkWorks educated 30 local and county-level decision makers on the benefits of walking and the importance of the local physical activity culture.
WalkWorks provides a good example of how to use collaborative efforts with community partners, especially as a means of extending the linkage between academia and health departments. The Community Guide was the resource that guided the development of the multi-pronged approach for the intervention and led to successful, large-scale implementation.
Partnerships and Collaborations
The University of Pittsburgh Center for Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health collaborated with key stakeholders at the national, state, and local levels to plan and implement WalkWorks. These stakeholders include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Center for Rural Health Practice, YMCA, hospitals, and school districts. Leaders from multiple community sectors such as business and higher education were also involved with implementation of the program. WalkWorks will be included in the Pennsylvania Healthy Communities Resource Guide and as a case study for the National Recreation and Park Association.