Asset mapping strategy brings many benefits to health promoters, resource and patient care navigators. It helps us,
- To identify resources available in our community,
- To forge new partnerships,
- Save time and money,
- and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of what we are doing.
Of course, it helps us to identify gaps also.
All in all, the strategy helps us to visualize a more realistic picture of our community.
In fact, asset mapping should be an integral part of social determinants of health projects.
What do we mean by community assets?
According to UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, community assets include “anything that improves the quality of community life”.
Community assets are “anything that improves the quality of community life”.UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
We can group community assets in many ways. The following table includes a simple classification. We can add more categories to the table.
The asset mapping model and guiding principles
The Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) Institute views asset mapping as a model. It also details ABCD guiding principles.
Steps to follow in community asset mapping
We can follow the following steps in asset mapping;
- Define community and its boundaries,
- List the assets,
Defining the community
Defining the community begins with identifying the problem that we want to address. Then, we define the community. For example, we can consider stroke or cancer survivors living in a geographic area of our interest. However, we can use a virtual group also.
Now, we need to determine which assets we are going to include in our project. It can be an ongoing activity. In the beginning, it will include only a few assets. With regard to cancer, we can include the following assets;
- Cancer screening centres in the identified geographical area,
- Outpatient treatment facilities
- Cancer-related support groups
- Personal support and home care
- Transport services
- Food banks
- Financial support
- Any other
Creating the asset map
We can use Google my maps to create an asset map. I described in another post how I used it to map assets for stroke survivors living in a small geographic area in Toronto.
Asset mapping is a well-established and useful tool. You can find a vast amount of published research on the topic. Following are only a very few of the resources I referenced. I will certainly expand with time.
- How to create an asset map with Google My Maps
- The Asset-Baed Community Development Institute (ABCD) provides an excellent free resource about asset mapping.
- Nurture development discusses the ABCD approach.
- Community asset mapping
- Asset-based community development
- ABCD Canada website
- Four elements of the ABCD process
- Asset-based Community Development at a Glance
- Community-based prevention marketing