The work of the Center in the Black Belt through its previous core research project, Flying Sparks (2004-2009), has benefited both communities and agencies involved in the effort to further understand and promote the health of that region. The partnerships and community capacity that have been built as a result of Flying Sparks are enormous assets.
Throughout the Black Belt, there are trained CHA volunteers who are knowledgeable in community organization, risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes, best practice interventions associated with those risk factors, survey research, research ethics, grant writing and how to establish a 501c3. The recent diabetes initiative associated with Flying Sparks served as a preliminary study/activity that supported a successful application from the ADPH to establish the Strategic Alliance Program. Previous community organization activities around heart disease and diabetes risk factors in Black Belt communities as well as the ongoing multi media education campaign provides a rich environment to build community capacity that impacts public policy through community advocacy.