PURPOSE: Increasingly, cancer centers are delivering population-based approaches to narrow the gap between known cancer prevention strategies and their effective implementation. Leveraging successful healthy community initiatives, MD Anderson developed Be Well Communities™, a model that implements evidence-based actions to directly impact people's lives.
METHODS: In partnership with local organizations, MD Anderson's Be Well Communities team executed and evaluated 16 evidence-based interventions to address community priorities in healthy diets, physical activity, and sun safety. Evaluation included assessing the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions, stakeholders' perceptions of collaboration, and the population-level impact on dietary and physical activity behaviors among students using the School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey and the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time. Two-tailed t-tests were used to compare tested parameters at baseline and follow-up. p values less than .05 were considered significant.
RESULTS: This model achieved its early outcomes, including effectively implementing evidence-based interventions, building strong partnerships, increasing access to healthy foods, improving the built environment, and increasing healthy food and water consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity among students (p < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Be Well Communities is an effective model for positively impacting community health which could be leveraged by others to deliver evidence-based actions to improve population health.