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Sustainability of Community-based Health Promotion Coalitions: Putting Theory into Practice

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Objective: Despite their rich potential, community coalitions enjoy mixed success in effecting long-term population health improvement. A need exists for strategies that augment and sustain their functional success. We undertook a study to enhance definition of the elements of coalition success and sustainability that, in turn, may foster better achievement in community-based participatory research (CBPR) and concomitant health-related outcomes. Methods: We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews (N = 42) with academic researchers and their community coalition partners about the effectiveness of their collaborative endeavors. A grounded theory analysis of interview data informed the identification of domains and thematic elements influencing coalition effectiveness. Results: Seven domains emerged: (1) Characteristics related to coalition structure and processes; (2) Partner characteristics, eg, diversity, patience, flexibility, expertise; (3) Community characteristics, eg, capacity, ownership; (4) Partnership dynamics and synergy; (5) Tangible benefits; (6) Available resources, and; (7) Project characteristics. In all, 70 elements representing these domains influenced coalition effectiveness over time. Conclusions: These results extend our knowledge of factors contributing to coalition effectiveness and the sustainability of academic-community partnerships. Attention to these domains during key operational stages of CBPR initiatives is likely to have broad stakeholder benefits.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2017

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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