Magnolia Community Initiative: Los Angeles, CA

In partnership with resident leaders in Central Los Angeles, CA, the Magnolia Community Initiative (MCI) developed a plan to co-design a community wellness survey to capture residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood context to effectively evaluate the impact of their current strategies on population health outcomes.

Vision and Goals Excerpt

MCI and partner organizations know that children’s outcomes are most directly influenced by family and neighborhood context. Inherent assets in a community can protect against negative neighborhood conditions that impact child and family health outcomes. As such, MCI and partner organizations will develop an approach to better understand how residents experience neighborhood context and use these findings to improve the well-being of children and families.

The Community Wellness Design Team (CWDT), composed of MCI members, partner organizations, and, most importantly, community residents, will redesign MCI’s Community Wellness survey to better capture what residents perceive to be community assets and the structural barriers to improving population health. As context experts, community residents are a critical part of the design process because they bring an important lived experience perspective on local community conditions. Being equitable and inclusive starts with sharing power and ensuring that the people most affected and most marginalized, especially those who have been historically left out of these conversations (e.g., low-income people, communities of color, recent immigrants, etc.), have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Current efforts use a traditional service delivery approach that creates programs to address community needs, such as a nutrition program to address childhood obesity. Although it can lead to children eating healthier, it does not address the high number of fast food outlets and the lack of safe green space, and how those link to children being overweight. Services delivered without community input do not address the complex and interconnected neighborhood conditions that impact health outcomes.

MCI hopes that a well-designed community survey can bridge the gaps by providing both quantitative and qualitative data at the local level to better inform and align groups to a common purpose. It is very difficult to determine if the efforts across the networks are producing the desired impact without a common data set. If these networks can agree to use a common measurement system, such as the Early Development Instrument (EDI) and the MCI Community Wellness survey, they can start having meaningful conversations about the conditions that allow neighborhoods to thrive.

The goal is to change the currently used survey to reflect the perspectives, experiences, and desires of residents and capture different local data (on health, poverty, safety, etc.) that can be used to promote community wellness and resident well-being.


Community Context Excerpt

The MCI catchment area of 500 blocks is one of the densest populations in Los Angeles County. Due to population density there are several initiatives that are funded to improve child and family well-being. One challenge among various networks that serve this community is the silos that exist. Networks have established their own coalitions and often duplicate efforts by other initiatives.

One of the greatest opportunities for this work is the multitude of groups that have committed to advance community well-being in Los Angeles. By leveraging diverse partnerships, community alignment can be built to address silos and begin to work toward a shared, common data set.


Learn more about MCI at


Disclaimer: Community teams own all aspects of Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans. While this plan was created using the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) model for developing Community-Driven Health Equity Action Plans in collaboration with the NAM Culture of Health Program, it is solely a product of the Magnolia Community Initiative.

Join Our Community

Sign up for NAM email updates