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Tool for Health and Resilience In Vulnerable Environments

This page provides answers to some basic questions about THRIVE and how it was developed. If you have additional questions you think would be helpful to post, please send us an email to thrive@preventioninstitute.org.

If you would like information about how this approach can help close the health gap in your community, please see Community Health Approach.




What is THRIVE? neighborhood

THRIVE is a tool to help people understand and prioritize the factors within their own communities that can help improve health and safety. The tool identifies key factors and allows a user to rate how important that factor might be in the community. In also provides information about how each factor is related to health outcomes and some direction about what to do to address the factor and where to go for more information.


Who funded THRIVE?

The California Endowment provided resources for the initial researching and conceptualization of the THRIVE factors, as well as for subsequent modifications to reflect language that was less research-based and more community-friendly. The US Office of Minority Health funded the development and piloting of an earlier version of the tool in three US locales. The Community Technology Foundation of California (CTFC) provided resources to translate the factors and other information and resources to create a web-based tool that makes health disparities approaches available to the public in general and distressed communities in particular. The Community Technology Foundation of California helps underserved communities secure social justice, access, and equity through the application of information and communications technologies.

How was THRIVE developed?

The THRIVE community health factors are based on an iterative process conducted from July 2002 - March 2003 and supported by The California Endowment. The process consisted of a scan of peer-reviewed literature and relevant reports and interviews with practitioners and academics as well as an internal analysis that included brainstorming, clustering of concepts and information, and a search for supporting evidence as the analysis progressed. The literature scan began with Healthy People 2010 Leading Health Indicators (identified by Surgeon General Satcher as having a role in the elimination of health disparities1) and the ‘actual causes’ of death identified by McGinnis and Foege2 and searched for subsequent information that linked the Leading Health Indicators with social, behavioral, and environmental elements.

Based on the findings, Prevention Institute identified a set of community factors and clustered the factors into interrelated clusters. The content was reviewed and ratified by the THRIVE national expert panel and incorporated into a tool with input from a subcommittee of the expert panel. An earlier version of the tool was piloted for the US Office of Minority Health in three communities: Hidalgo County , New Mexico (rural site), Del Paso Heights, Sacramento , California (suburban site), and in East Harlem, New York City (urban site) between October and December 2003. With support from The California Endowment and the Community Technology Foundation of California, the clusters and factors were subsequently modified to reflect language that was less research-based and more community-friendly.

View the references for the above section.


How can THRIVE help close the health gap in my community?

THRIVE can be a valuable tool in addressing specific ways to close the health gap by building on strengths in disenfranchised communities. Further, a community health approach can be extremely valuable in addressing health disparities because factors in the environment contribute to them. Those using THRIVE should identify the critical health gaps and design and shape a strategy specifically targeted to close that gap. THRIVE can help close the health gap by:

1) Changing the way people think about health and safety

  • Promoting knowledge of and critical thinking about communities and community health
  • Fostering an understanding of the value of community resilience approaches in addition to and support of medical treatment to close the health gap

2) Providing an evidence-based framework for change

  • Laying out a framework and identifying a process for communities to make change
  • Providing a framework that can be modified to embrace and reflect local nuances and culture
  • Finding solutions that reflect the value and culture of people who live in the community while giving an evidence-based framework of factors that promote improved health outcomes

3) Building community capacity while building on community strength

  • Encouraging communities to reflect on their own strengths and capacities
  • Building local leadership skills and helping local leadership understand important community and health issues and how to advance them
  • Understanding that part of community improvement includes fostering local businesses that are owned by local people and rooted in the culture and needs of the community, thereby increasing people’s stake in the neighborhood and local ownership of assets in the neighborhood
  • Fostering community ownership of a pro-active solution and creating a community network that can work on issues together

4) Fostering links to decision makers and other resources

  • Building bridges from disenfranchised neighborhoods to enfranchised neighborhoods, which tend to have more access to resources and influence in local decision-making
  • Creating a bridge to build trust and accountability with local decision makers and policy makers
  • Fostering equal partnerships between communities and universities that want to work around health disparities by providing a framework for communities to prioritize and take action and for universities to assist by providing assessment and feedback through credible, and community-participatory based, evaluation.