• American Indians;
  • capacity building;
  • community tobacco control;
  • health disparities;
  • Hispanic/Latinos;
  • tobacco-related disparities


Aim  To discuss systemic and conceptual issues that surround capacity building for tobacco control in traditionally underserved communities, by presenting two case studies, one in an American Indian community and another in a Hispanic/Latino community.

Design  Key informant interviews, cross-sectional surveys and case study methods were used to create community-specific conceptual frameworks for building capacity for tobacco control. These models of capacity building serve as the backdrop for the development of the two case studies.

Setting, participants, measurements  Interview and survey participants were identified through convenience and snowball sampling, using a community-based participatory process in an American Indian community in Oklahoma and among the Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Education Partnership (H/LTEP) organizations in California. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, two case studies were created based on the results of interviews with key informants in each of the respective communities, outcomes of efforts to build capacity in tobacco control are presented.

Findings  The extent to which American Indian and Hispanic/Latino communities have the capacity to address effectively the disproportionate burden of tobacco abuse is contingent upon the presence of leadership, collaboration, programs, distribution of funds and resources, development of policies and an underlying understanding of community strengths, history, values and participation. Common characteristics emerge from the case studies that help bridge differences in definition and measurement across both populations and programs.

Conclusion  The conceptual frameworks for capacity building presented provide insight that enhances the ability of priority populations to engage in tobacco control strategies using culturally and language appropriate interventions.