The Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI) is a five-year effort to implement comprehensive strategies to address obesity, tobacco-free living, and the social determinants of health with the overall aim to improve health outcomes in Montgomery County, Maryland. The TCI  strategies focuses on policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes to improve community wide health and to prevent chronic disease.

Community Science is implementing the local-level evaluation of Montgomery County’s TCI as it implements a set of coordinated, cross-sector, cross-system PSE strategies to address childhood obesity, tobacco use, and food insecurity. The evaluation also assesses how individual interventions or strategies are planned and implemented; how effectively they support PSE and health-behavior changes in targeted settings or with targeted populations; and the extent to which collaboration, community engagement, and an equity focus improve as a result. In addition, we provide capacity-building support to encourage sustainability of the developed data collection procedures and tools.

Using qualitative and quantitative methods, we are examining the effect of the initiative through interviews with TCI partners and implementers; surveys with local school wellness councils, food security partners, and tobacco coalition members; review of quarterly reports; review of existing partner data; and measures of student walking and biking behaviors in elementary schools. The evaluation is helping improve strategy implementation, program monitoring and evaluation practices, and sustainability planning. 00599