Online Program

Achieving collective impact: Confessions of a “backbone” organization

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Cheryl Moder, Community Health Improvement Partners, San Diego, CA
To successfully tackle the childhood obesity epidemic, leaders must address the social and physical environmental factors that undermine parents' efforts to protect their children's health. With this recognition, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (Initiative) was established in 2006 as a public/private partnership whose mission is to reduce and prevent childhood obesity by creating healthy environments for children and families through advocacy, education, policy development, and environmental change. The purpose of the Initiative is to create, support and mobilize partnerships among multiple domains; provide leadership and vision; and coordinate countywide efforts to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.

As many communities are adopting a multi-sectoral approach to creating meaningful and broad-based systems change in response to the obesity epidemic, more is being learned about what works—and what doesn't work—to make these initiatives successful. For collaborations to thrive, they require a supportive infrastructure and a “backbone” organization to serve as a neutral manager, facilitator, and convener.

The Initiative is facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), a non-profit organization that assesses and addresses priority health needs through collaboration. Using its model of collaboration, CHIP serves as the backbone organization for the Initiative and provides dedicated staff to serve in a supportive role.

Using the Initiative as an example, this session will describe the characteristics of successful collaboratives and explore how these conditions have been effectively applied in San Diego. We will examine the role of the backbone organization, describe how staff can support collective impact, and recommend specific steps for success.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define a collective impact initiative. Identify the conditions necessary for successful collective impact. Describe the roles of an effective backbone support organization.

Keyword(s): Collaboration, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have established and served as the backbone organizer of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative since 2006. The Initiative is a nationally recognized multi-sector collective impact initiative with the common agenda of reducing and preventing childhood obesity in San Diego County through advocacy, policy development and environmental change.
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.