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  1. An evaluation for planning a capacity building training institute for community coalitions engaged in policy, systems, and environmental changes Holly Pope PhD, MSPH, Sonya Jones, PhD, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health Abstract Results Discussion • Survey respondents • Seventy-four were from 28 SC counties and represented 39 community coalitions and a wide variety of roles in community coalitions. • Most coalitions had a mission related to healthy eating and indicated they had been working on PSE changes for two or less years or have never engaged in PSE change. • Themes • The most important things coalitions should be doing to support healthy eating includes: increasing awareness; advocacy work; and building capacity within their organization, and many reported that getting organizational and community buy-in is a challenge. • Policy advocacy • Most respondents had policy advocacy support from community leaders on a local level. • Media advocacy • More than 40% of respondents indicated no experience in media advocacy strategies in the areas of holding a media event, such as a press conference; using a paid advertisement campaign; writing a letter to the editor; and writing an opinion editorial. Many respondents indicated a desire to learn more about holding media events and using a paid advertisement campaign. • Community organizing strategies • Respondents expressed a strong desire to learn more about using social media and email to organize campaigns and raise money to support their cause. • Evaluation • Most respondents wanted more evaluation skills in the areas of assessing if a campaign reached decision makers and to assess if their efforts resulted in changes in the community’s health. • Needs assessments • There was interest in learning more about implementing needs assessments strategies; identifying the coalitions’ allies; assessing how community members might respond to an issue campaign; and how the media frames and portrays the coalition’s issues. • Capacity to lead • Few respondents indicated that they strongly agreed that their coalition could perform data analysis; handle conflict well; systematically recruit people to participate in activities; and felt their group was widely known within their community. Background: Through the Affordable Care Act Community Transformation Grants, communities are working to change policies, systems, and environments (PSE) to promote community health. The Childhood Obesity Prevention in South Carolina (COPASCities) program focuses to improve PSE related to food systems, which also can lead to stronger community economies for locally produced food. The purpose of this presentation is to describe survey results from SC community coalition members involved in the planning and/or implementing PSE strategies for healthy eating. Methods:Surveys were administered online and completed by individuals (n=74) from 39 SC community coalitions involved in the planning and/or implementing PSE strategies for healthy eating. Descriptive statistics were used to explain facets of community coalitions’ organizational capacity levels. Desired areas to increase organizational capacity were also described. Qualitative analysis revealed areas of priority and challenges related to planning and/or implementing food systems. Results: Results highlighted that the majority of respondents had policy advocacy support on the local level. More than 40% of respondents indicated no experience in media advocacy strategies and experienced a desire for training opportunities. In areas of community organizing, evaluation, and needs assessment, respondents had varied levels of experience and desired more training to increase organizational capacity in these areas. A small proportion of respondents strongly agreed with their organization’s ability to lead in specified areas, which may also be addressed in capacity trainings. Areas of needed priority and challenges related to planning and/or implementing food system are also described. Implications: Survey results will be used to inform the content of a capacity building training institute(s), along with interactive techniques and resources used to engage and enhance the experiences of training participants. This presentation provides insights to designing and implementing capacity building trainings and can serve as a model for other communities interested in engaging in PSE changes, specifically changes related to food systems. Figure 2. Local coalitions that participated in survey by SC counties Table 1. Survey respondents’ characteristics Table 2. Survey respondents’ comments by themes % of respondents % of respondents Figure 1. Facets of organizational capacity assessed by survey Conclusion Survey results indicate that many community coalitions in SC are interested in engaging in PSE changes. Insights from the survey are helpful to designing and implementing capacity building trainings in areas that will be relevant to the community coalitions’ needs and can serve as a model for other communities interested. Building the capacity of coalition leaders to effectively engage community decision makers, increase the base of support, and advocate for PSE changes will increase the effectiveness of coalitions. Contact information: Holly Pope, hpope@sc.edu