Abstract for: Using Group Model Building to Understand Different Visions and Goals of Implementing Community Gardens in Rural Missouri

Preventing and managing chronic diseases requires implementation of programs outside of healthcare settings, including programs implemented through cross-sector collaboration. This project is designed to support the implementation of a community garden in a rural community using group model building (GMB). The garden is overseen by a Wellness Council, with representation from various sectors, that is led by a community-based organization. We convened a core modeling team (CMT) including the organization’s executive director, the local public health department representative on the Wellness Council, and two research staff. We identified a coordination problem – a lack of shared vision for the garden – and scoped two phases to understand the diversity of goals and vision among the Wellness Council: 1) GMB within the CMT to build community partners’ GMB capabilities and for the research team to learn the history of the garden, and 2) make explicit the diverse goals of the Wellness Council members using one-on-one interviews, small group GMB, and full group review of a preliminary model. This project will inform future work to facilitate the development of a shared vision among the Wellness Council and to adjust their implementation approach accordingly and the application of GMB to other cross-sector implementation problems.