December 12, 2018

Healthy Community Living Project Shares Stakeholder Engagement Practices for Online Conference

Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability & Rehabilitation Research at American Institutes for ResearchThe Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) hosted its annual online conference on November 5, 7, and 9, 2018, titled “Engaging Ways to Engage Stakeholders.”  Spanning across the three days, the conference addressed strategies for how to plan, carry out, and measure the effectiveness of different knowledge translation (KT) approaches.

On day two of the conference, RTC:Rural’s Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett and RTC:Rural Project Director Tannis Hargrove presented on their work with the Healthy Community Living (HCL) project. Their presentation was titled “Co-creating With Stakeholders: A Case of Engaging Through Concept and Design for Program Development.” The presentation will be archived and made available on KTDRR’s website in early 2019.

Healthy Community Living (HCL) is a national project that has brought together organizational leaders, Centers for Independent Living staff and consumers, and researchers to develop Independent Living skills and health and wellbeing programming that is innovative, adaptive and inclusive. The HCL program contains two workshops: Community Living Skills, and Living Well in the Community (previously titled Living Well with a Disability). HCL is a development project funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

In their presentation, Boehm Barrett and Hargrove shared the process and outcomes of using a participatory curriculum development framework to create two workshops that help teach and promote healthy living skills. This framework guides the involvement of disability stakeholders throughout the entire development process, which helps ensure that the finished workshops are relevant and useful to the people with disabilities who will be using them.

“While other presentations at the previous day’s KTDRR conference focused on the value of stakeholder engagement and why it is important, our intent was to provide an explanation of how we implemented end-user engagement throughout our project,” said Boehm Barret. “The real life challenges and successes we experienced using the participatory curriculum development framework with disability stakeholders provide a case study of the time, resources, and attention it takes to create meaningful stakeholder relationships that can then lead to meaningful co-created products.”

Boehm Barrett and Hargrove explained the strategies and tools the HCL project used to engage partners at Centers for Independent Living (CILs) over the first three years of the project. They also shared some of the many learned lessons, such as the importance of forming trusting relationships with partners, and the in-person and distance-based communication strategies they used to establish and maintain those working relationships.

“What we found to be really significant for this project,” said Hargrove, “was the combination of both face-to-face in-person engagement at the project start and then the consistent and reliable communication with our CIL partners throughout the project. Meeting in-person really helped establish trust among us to feel comfortable and confident to work together on such a big project.”

Healthy Community Living logo - orange circles grey peopleAs the HCL project enters its fourth year, the project team continues to work with CIL staff, consumers, and other disability stakeholders to evaluate the workshops. HCL is set to launch in late 2019.

To learn more about these workshops visit the Healthy Community Living website, where you can find more information and sign up for the Healthy Community Living eNewsletter.