176269 Enhancing academic and practice partner collaborations: Bringing together academic public health expertise and practice experience to rural Texas

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sherry L. Falgout, MPH , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Sharon E. Alderete, BA , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Anna Graham, BA , USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Barbara J. Quiram, PhD , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
The Office of Special Programs, School of Rural Public Health (SRPH), Texas A&M Health Science Center initiated, through funding from the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), the Model Rural Academic Health Department (M-RAHD) program to enhance academic and practice partner collaborations, bring academic public health expertise and resources to practice settings, and contribute practice experience and issues to the academic setting. To reach these goals, the M-RAHD program formed a partnership among SRPH, Milam, Bastrop, and Brazos Counties, and the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 7, to develop and enhance local public health understanding and capacity in rural areas by identifying and recognizing existing local public health services and providing an opportunity for those service providers to come together to share and plan.

Instead of creating formal health departments, virtual public health systems emerged. The collaborative efforts put forth by both the academic and public health practice partners provided the opportunity for community stakeholders to meet face-to-face to discuss community public health issues, to identify local and regional resources and gaps in the public health system and to collectively develop strategies to address these issues. This significantly strengthened the existing public health networks and expanded connectivity, an initial step in creating sustainable community collaboration efforts to locally manage emerging public health issues. For a state with no local public health infrastructure in one hundred fifty-four counties; implementing these strategies remains key to providing public health services to our citizens.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize one new community service partner to support development of a virtual public health collaborative. 2. Describe one new communication strategy to increase the awareness of public health services in rural communities. 3. Identify two resources that local public health communities and their academic partners can utilize to implement a public health communication strategy in rural communities.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered