Online Program

Strategically aligned: A partnership case study exploring factors contributing to the development of mutuality

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tilicia Mayo-Gamble, MA, MPH, CHES, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Priscilla Barnes, MPH, PhD, MCHES, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, HSD, MPH, MA, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Background: Mutuality is recognized as an important component to partnership. However, few studies have described the elements encompassing mutuality, particularly in new relationships forming between organizations. For partnerships to achieve mutuality, it is important to identify measures contributing to this concept.


Objectives: This formative exploratory study explores characteristics that contribute to the development of mutuality in a public health partnership between a healthcare institution and a school of public health.


Methods: Key informant interviews (n=12) were conducted with IU School of Public Health-Bloomington faculty and IU Health Bloomington representatives currently serving on the IUH-IUSPH Alliance steering committee. To explore characteristics contributing to the development of mutuality, key informants were asked questions regarding perceived events that led to the development of the Alliance, perceived goals/expectations, resources acquisition/allocation, perceived outcomes, and current/future role with the Alliance.


Results:  For this partnership mutuality emerged as a result of years of informal networking and coordinated activities that led to the need to formalize strategic collaboration.  Three key factors describing the evolution of mutuality in this partnership were: Connectivity to Organization’s Purpose, Appropriate Alignment of Human Capital, and Maturation of Personal and Professional Relationships. 


Conclusions: Although mutuality is cited as a central feature of sustainable partnerships, it is also a concept that is not innate.  Mutuality requires ‘strategic’ effort from each partner that ‘unfold’ over time. While the Alliance was able to identify key characteristics contributing to mutuality, further exploration is needed to determine if these elements fit within a universal framework for measuring this concept.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the key characteristics contributing to the development of mutuality. Describe a type of formative research used to identify measures of mutuality within a public health partnership.

Keyword(s): Partnerships, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this content because I am part of the research team that conducted this study. I have a graduate degree in public health and several years of experience in public health, health education, and health promotion. Furthermore, my PhD training is in theory-driven interventions and data analysis.
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.