202967 Understanding member engagement through participation and commitment in a community-based health coalition, 1994-2008: A mixed-methodological study

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 12:45 PM

Christopher S. Holliday, PhD, MPH , Health Assessment and Promotion, DeKalb County Board of Health, Decatur, GA
Community coalitions are prime vehicles for fostering social support within communities and prominent mechanisms for building local capacities to address health and social concerns. However, sustaining these entities beyond initial efforts and funding is difficult. What has kept members participating in and committed to the work of the Clarkston Health Collaborative, a community coalition, nearly 15 years after its inception? The coalition operates through a blending of community stakeholders (and mobilization of community-based assets) to pool diverse perspectives toward solving immediate and emerging community issues that affect health and well being. Prior research has examined variables that predict overall participation and/or commitment in community-based coalitions, however, the literature largely focuses on coalitions that are “topic focused” (e.g., diabetes, gang violence, drugs, or obesity). These studies fail to identify factors that are important in sustaining member engagement in non-grant-funded, non-topic-based (i.e., there is no singular focus; topics are community generated and vary) community coalitions.

This cross-sectional study examined member engagement as a sustaining factor of coalitions. Members of the Clarkston Health Collaborative (N = 93), ages 21 to 70 years, representing various sectors of the community, as well as racial and ethnic backgrounds, were surveyed as part of a coalition assessment in 2007 and 2008 in Clarkston, Georgia. Engagement, in this study, is conceptualized as one construct with two components, participation, a behavioral indicator of engagement, and commitment, a psychological indicator of engagement. These two aspects were considered integral components of a member engagement model, and thus, critical to coalition sustainability.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify factors that are important in sustaining member engagement in community-based coalitions. 2. Define a conceptual model of member engagement 3. Discuss interventions and strategies that foster member engagement in community-based coalitions.

Keywords: Coalition, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: N/A

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is my dissertation research and coalition work that I have been involved in for nearly 8 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.