245068 Supporting the transformation of a statewide substance abuse prevention system through action learning

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lea Ayers LaFave, PhD, RN , JSI Research & Training Institute, Community Health Institute, Bow, NH
Lisa Mure, MEd, CPS , JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc, Community Health Institute, Bow, NH
Arielle Slam, BA, BS , JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc, Community Health Institute, Bow, NH
Valerie Morgan, Administrator , Prevention Services Unit, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, Concord, NH
Background. Action Learning Collaboratives (ALCs) are interdisciplinary teams with a shared aim that work over a fixed time to bring about organizational or systemic change. In 2009, the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (NHBDAS) established the NHCFEx using Strategic Prevention Framework funds to support the transformation of the state prevention system through the development of regional networks. Action learning was one approach to support this initiative.

Methods: An ALC of 11 regional teams was formed to strengthen community mobilizing capacity. ALC processes were encouraged across teams: a) selecting project and aims, b) baseline assessment/data collection, c) review of evidence-based practice, d) iterative periods of learning, action, measurement and reflection promoting small steps of change, and e) ongoing coaching/technical assistance and cross-site interaction.

Results: Teams used improvement techniques to identify aims (increasing community awareness and/or engagement), and identified readiness and strategies for community mobilizing within the unique context of NH's evolving prevention network. Specific focus areas included youth engagement, parent engagement, and development of community-based leadership teams. Teams varied in their progress on ALC processes. Factors facilitating success included ongoing engagement of diverse team members, availability of data, and agreement on specific aims and strategies.

Conclusion: Action learning methods offer promise to address a range of public health issues with its emphasis on evidence-based practice, prevention and community engagement. This initial work established a base for the next phase of network development which applies a more formalized Community-Based Participatory Research framework.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the application of action learning as an approach for community health improvement related to substance abuse prevention.

Keywords: Substance Abuse Prevention, Community Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed and conducted the action learning collaborative on community mobilizing for the NH Center for Excellence.
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.