268858 Serving Together: Launching a community collaboration to enhance mental health and support services for military families

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Sally A. Koblinsky, PhD , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Suzanne Randolph, PhD , Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Stefanie Moreno, LCSW-C , Serving Together, Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, Rockville, MD
Jessica McNurlen, MA, CRC , Serving Together, Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, Rockville, MD
Although recent wars have increased awareness of military family needs, communities are just beginning to identify ways in which civilian health/mental health services can complement services provided by military and veterans programs. In 2011, a county Mental Health Association in a mid-Atlantic state launched Serving Together, a collaborative partnership to coordinate and strengthen community-based health/mental health, education, and employment services for troops, veterans, and military families in the county. The county has 50,000 veterans and 500 wounded warriors at a National Military Medical Center. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, local foundations, and county government, the 4-year project aims to: build community provider knowledge of military family needs; coordinate military and civilian services; train mental health providers in appropriate interventions; educate military families about mental health issues; create user-friendly tools to access local resources; and evaluate project impact on community/systems change. Key to project success is the establishment of an effective collaboration, with an Advisory Council representing military, health/mental health, education, business, faith, government, and nonprofit communities. This presentation summarizes the Year 1, process-focused evaluation. Advisory Council members completed the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory at mid-year and year-end. Inventory results, which assessed purpose, environment, membership, structure and process, communication, and resources, helped to guide planning and project management. Year-end interviews with Council members and staff produced additional lessons learned regarding project organization and setting long-term goals. The presenter will describe how first-year findings provide a foundation for facilitating community/systems change in programs, practices, and policies that benefit military families.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Define three goals of Serving Together, a community-based collaboration to serve military families. Explain the benefits of coordinating military and civilian health and mental health services for service members, veterans, and their families. Describe a strategy for evaluating the effectiveness of a collaborative community partnership. Identify factors that predict successful community collaboration and attainment of desired project goals.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the evaluator of Serving Together, a grant awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County. I am a Family Science professor in University of Marylandís School of Public Health and director of the Schoolís Military Families Internship program. I am also currently participating in national, state, and university initiatives serving veterans and military families.
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.