Leveraging Data for Meaningful Improvements: How Credible Data Enables Partnership Alignment to Achieve Well-Being at the Population Level

  • Susan BrutschyEmail author
  • Keisha Frost
  • Michelle Luedtke
  • Donna Maurillo
Part of the Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being book series (CQLWB)


For nearly a quarter-century, the Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project (CAP) in California has optimized ways to measure community well-being. It has leveraged those data to collaborate with diverse partners and achieve a common goal of improved well-being for all residents. Using reliable data has benefited Santa Cruz County, as the CAP inspires new ways for diverse partners to collaborate on shared goals. Benchmarks are set and improvements are monitored in part through data collection, analysis, and application, which are intentionally rooted in a community-focused continuous improvement cycle. For greater focus on successes and areas for improvement, the CAP report was retooled in 2016 to integrate national measures and objectives to improve health by applying the Healthy People 2020 targets, including Leading Health Indicators (LHI). Incorporated among those targets are specific goals that relate to the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). Since then, the CAP data have targeted the five key areas of SDOH: Economic Stability; Education; Social and Community Context; Health and Health Care; and Neighborhood and Built Environment. This paper explains how the CAP helped Santa Cruz County succeed with these initiatives to effect positive change—especially among special populations—and how these lessons can be applied to other communities.


Community assessment CAP Well-being Wellbeing Quality of life Collective impact Santa Cruz County Social determinants of health Sustainable development goals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Brutschy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Keisha Frost
    • 2
  • Michelle Luedtke
    • 1
  • Donna Maurillo
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Survey ResearchWatsonvilleUSA
  2. 2.United Way of Santa Cruz CountyCapitolaUSA

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