207359 Fostering partnerships between coalitions: An evaluation of the 3 City Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:45 PM

Jessica A. Waggett, MPH , Cambridge Health Alliance, Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Emily Chiasson, MSW, MPH , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Jean Granick, MSW , Department of Community Affairs, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA
Gisela Rots, MSc , Cambridge Prevention Coalition, City of Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
Elisa Friedman, MS , Department of Community Affairs/Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
In 2008, three city-based community coalitions in Massachusetts (the Collaborative), commenced a unique regional collaboration to decrease prescription drug and opioid use in their communities. Each community has established prevention coalitions committed to decreasing substance use. Substance use has been a notable problem in these communities, as documented in local youth survey data and a recent rise in the number of opioid overdoses. This project enabled a regional approach to enhance existing coalition's strategies. A principal purpose of this collaborative was to bring together substance abuse specialists from the three communities to foster effective, efficient partnerships among the coalitions.

The Institute for Community Health (ICH), a research organization dedicated to health improvement through community-based participatory approaches, worked with the Collaborative to develop an evaluation plan that utilized mixed methods to evaluate the multiple strategies the project undertook.

While there were various evaluation components, a foremost area was the collaborative building process itself. The partners sought to understand 1) challenges in developing partnerships among coalitions; 2) factors facilitating the Collaborative's work; and, 3) perceived benefits of the collaboration.

Surveys, adapted from the Wilder Collaborative Survey, were used to assess perceptions of the efficiency, successes and challenges in the collaborative process. Members of the leadership team completed the survey at three points during the 12-month grant period.

Lessons learned from the evaluation findings serve to enlighten other city-based coalitions seeking to engage in regional strategies—particularly with a focus on collaboration. These findings can inform methods to initiating and sustaining collaborative efforts.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the benefits of working together in a regional collaborative 2. Identify challenges and barriers to regional collaborations 3. Describe possible evaluation methods for collaborative efforts

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have past and current experiences in public health, as a community health researcher and program evaluator. I have experience working in community based participatory research. I have experience working with community coalitions and local collaborations on prevention issues.
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.