243086 Inter-organization collaboration: Factors affecting community health policy advocacy efforts aimed at addressing health inequities among youth

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Rebecca R. Cheezum, MPH , School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Barbara A. Israel, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Edith A. Parker, DrPH , Department of Community and Behavioral Health, The University of Iowa, College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Melvin Delgado, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Michael Spencer, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
In the United States, youth of color and youth from lower socio-economic backgrounds experience poorer health statuses and health outcomes than their White and/or middle to upper income peers. Policy change is a strategy often called upon to address these health inequities. Increasingly, coalitions or inter-organizational collaborations (IOCs) of individuals and organizations are formed in order to bring about policy change. However, little is known about the factors that may influence an IOC's ability to effect policy change to impact the health and well-being of youth.

We conducted a qualitative study involving three IOCs working to change state and local institutional policies to improve the health of youth in Massachusetts. We used a multiple variation case selection strategy to sample coalitions with diverse characteristics. Data collection included a review of documents, focus groups, and interviews with adult and youth members to identify factors that may impact affect policy change and to examine the role of youth in this process.

We will present the results of this study, including the internal and external facilitating factors and challenges (e.g. leadership, decision making practices, available financial resources, economic environment) that contribute to an IOC's ability to influence policies that address issues salient to the health of youth. Additionally, we will discuss the ways in which youth have been engaged in this policy advocacy process. Finally, we will present recommendations for IOCs, youth-serving organizations, and policy makers aimed at increasing the effectiveness of IOCs to influence policies in order to achieve health equity.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the rationale for engaging in policy change to address health inequities Explain why inter-organization collaborations (IOCs) are a strategy for bringing about policy change to address health inequities Identify factors (both internal and external to the IOC) that are facilitating and challenging to effectively advocating for policy change. Describe the experiences of youth in the policy change process.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in the Health Behavior and Health Education department in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. This presentation reflects my dissertation research.
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.