Numerous studies have demonstrated that positive organizational climates contribute to better work performance. Screening and brief intervention (SBI) for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use has the potential to reach a broad population of hazardous drug users but has not yet been widely adopted in Brazil’s health care system. We surveyed 149 primary health care professionals in 30 clinics in Brazil who were trained to conduct SBI among their patients. We prospectively measured how often they delivered SBI to evaluate the association between organizational climate and adoption/performance of SBI.
Organizational climate was measured by the 2009 Organizational Climate Scale for Health Organizations, a scale validated in Brazil that assesses leadership, professional development, team spirit, relationship with the community, safety, strategy, and remuneration. Performance of SBI was measured prospectively by weekly assessments during the three months following training. We also assessed self-reported SBI and self-efficacy for performing SBI at three months post-training. We used inferential statistics to depict and test for the significance of associations.
Teams with better organizational climates implemented SBI more frequently. Organizational climate factors most closely associated with SBI implementation included professional development and relationship with the community. The dimensions of leadership and remuneration were also significantly associated with SBI.
Organizational climate may influence implementation of SBI and ultimately may affect the ability of organizations to identify and address drug use.
Organizational climate; Screening; Brief intervention; Alcohol; Tobacco; Substance abuse
Community-based education (CBE) can provide contextual learning that addresses manpower scarcity by enabling trainees acquire requisite experiences, competence, confidence and values. In Uganda, many health professional training institutions conduct some form of community-based education (CBE). However, there is scanty information on the nature of the training: whether a curriculum exists (objectives, intended outcomes, content, implementation strategy), administration and constraints faced. The objective was to make a comprehensive assessment of CBE as implemented by Ugandan health professional training institutions to document the nature of CBE conducted and propose an ideal model with minimum requirements for health professional training institutions in Uganda.
We employed several methods: documentary review of curricula of 22 institutions, so as to assess the nature, purpose, outcomes, and methods of instruction and assessment; site visits to these institutions and their CBE sites, to assess the learning environment (infrastructure and resources); in-depth interviews with key people involved in running CBE at the institutions and community, to evaluate CBE implementation, challenges experienced and perceived solutions.
CBE was perceived differently ranging from a subject, a course, a program or a project. Despite having similar curricula, institutions differ in the administration, implementation and assessment of CBE. Objectives of CBE, the curricula content and implementation strategies differ in similar institutions. On collaborative and social learning, most trainees do not reside in the community, though they work on group projects and write group reports. Lectures and skills demonstrations were the main instruction methods. Assessment involved mainly continuous assessment, oral or written reports and summative examination.
This assessment identified deficiencies in the design and implementation of CBE at several health professional training institutions, with major flaws identified in curriculum content, supervision of trainees, inappropriate assessment, trainee welfare, and underutilization of opportunities for contextual and collaborative learning. Since CBE showed potential to benefit the trainees, community and institutions, we propose a model that delivers a minimum package of CBE and overcomes the wide variation in the concept, conduct and implementation of CBE.
The paper combines the analytical and instrumental perspectives on communities of practice (CoPs) to reflect on potential challenges that may arise in the process of interprofessional and inter-organisational joint working within the Collaborations for Leaderships in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs)--partnerships between the universities and National Health Service (NHS) Trusts aimed at conducting applied health research and translating its findings into day-to-day clinical practice.
The paper discusses seminal theoretical literature on CoPs as well as previous empirical research on the role of these communities in healthcare collaboration, which is organised around the following three themes: knowledge sharing within and across CoPs, CoP formation and manageability, and identity building in CoPs. It argues that the multiprofessional and multi-agency nature of the CLAHRCs operating in the traditionally demarcated organisational landscape of the NHS may present formidable obstacles to knowledge sharing between various professional groupings, formation of a shared 'collaborative' identity, and the development of new communities within the CLAHRCs. To cross multiple boundaries between various professional and organisational communities and hence enable the flow of knowledge, the CLAHRCs will have to create an effective system of 'bridges' involving knowledge brokers, boundary objects, and cross-disciplinary interactions as well as address a number of issues related to professional and organisational identification.
The CoP approach can complement traditional 'stage-of-change' theories used in the field of implementation research and provide a basis for designing theory-informed interventions and evaluations. It can help to illuminate multiple boundaries that exist between professional and organisational groups within the CLAHRCs and suggest ways of crossing those boundaries to enable knowledge transfer and organisational learning. Achieving the aims of the CLAHRCs and producing a sustainable change in the ways applied health research is conducted and implemented may be influenced by how effectively these organisations can navigate through the multiple CoPs involved and promote the development of new multiprofessional and multi-organisational communities united by shared practice and a shared sense of belonging--an assumption that needs to be explored by further empirical research.
Background and objective
Social support interventions have a somewhat chequered history. Despite evidence that social connection is associated with good health, efforts to implement interventions designed to increase social support have produced mixed results. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the relationship between social connectedness and good health, by examining social support interventions with mothers of young children and analysing how support was conceptualised, enacted and valued, in order to advance what we know about providing support to improve health.
Context and approach
First, we provide a brief recent history of social support interventions for mothers with young children and we critically examine what was intended by ‘social support’, who provided it and for which groups of mothers, how support was enacted and what was valued by women. Second, we examine the challenges and promise of lay social support approaches focused explicitly on companionship, and draw on experiences in two cluster randomised trials which aimed to improve the wellbeing of mothers. One trial involved a universal approach, providing befriending opportunities for all mothers in the first year after birth, and the other a targeted approach offering support from a ‘mentor mother’ to childbearing women experiencing intimate partner violence.
Interventions providing social support to mothers have most often been directed to women seen as disadvantaged, or ‘at risk’. They have also most often been enacted by health professionals and have included strong elements of health education and/or information, almost always with a focus on improving parenting skills for better child health outcomes. Fewer have involved non-professional ‘supporters’, and only some have aimed explicitly to provide companionship or a listening ear, despite these aspects being what mothers receiving support have said they valued most. Our trial experiences have demonstrated that non-professional support interventions raise myriad challenges. These include achieving adequate reach in a universal approach, identification of those in need of support in any targeted approach; how much training and support to offer befrienders/mentors without ‘professionalising’ the support provided; questions about the length of time support is offered, how ‘closure’ is managed and whether interventions impact on social connectedness into the future. In our two trials what women described as helpful was not feeling so alone, being understood, not being judged, and feeling an increased sense of their own worth.
Conclusion and implications
Examination of how social support has been conceptualised and enacted in interventions to date can be instructive in refining our thinking about the directions to be taken in future research. Despite implementation challenges, further development and evaluation of non-professional models of providing support to improve health is warranted.
African Americans bear an unequal burden of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. The Deep South Network for Cancer Control (DSN) is a community–academic partnership operating in Alabama and Mississippi that was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to address cancer disparities using community-based participatory research approaches.
In addition to reporting on the plans of this work in progress, we describe the participatory process that local residents and the DSN used to identify needs and priorities, and elaborate on lessons learned from applying a participatory approach to the development of a community action plan.
We conducted 24 community discussion groups involving health care professionals, government officials, faith-based leaders, and other stakeholders to identify cancer health disparity needs, community resources/assets, and county priorities to eliminate cancer health disparities. To develop a community action plan, four working groups explored the themes that emerged from the discussion groups, taking into consideration evidence-based strategies and promising community practices.
The DSN formulated a community action plan focusing on (1) increasing physical activity by implementing a campaign for individual-level focused activity; (2) increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables by implementing NCI’s Body and Soul Program in local churches; (3) increasing cancer screening by raising awareness through individual, system, and provider agents of change; and (4) training community partners to become effective advocates.
A community–academic partnership must involve trust, respect, and an appreciation of partners’ strengths and differences. The DSN applied these guiding principles and learned pivotal lessons.
In 1995, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that special attention be given to the information needs of unaffiliated public health professionals. In response, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Greater Midwest Region initiated a collaborative outreach program for public health professionals working in rural east and central Iowa. Five public health agencies were provided equipment, training, and support for accessing the Internet. Key factors in the success of this project were: (1) the role of collaborating agencies in the implementation and ongoing success of information access outreach projects; (2) knowledge of the socio-cultural factors that influence the information-seeking habits of project participants (public health professionals); and (3) management of changing or varying technological infrastructures. Working with their funding, personnel from federal, state, and local governments enhanced the information-seeking skills of public health professionals in rural eastern and central Iowa communities.
Filipino Americans have more adolescent pregnancies than other Asian-Pacific Islanders (APIs). Few community–academic collaborations have addressed adolescent pregnancy prevention in this community.
We sought to describe the lessons learned from and impact of a community-based teen pregnancy prevention program for Filipino Americans implemented by a Filipina pediatrics resident.
We formed a community–academic partnership between the Filipino Youth Coalition, a community-based organization (CBO) in San Jose, California, and the Stanford School of Medicine’s Pediatric Advocacy Program. We developed a culturally tailored parent–teen conference addressing adolescent pregnancy prevention in Filipino Americans. We qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated this intervention by collecting both pre- and post-conference data using a convenience sample design.
Engaging particular aspects of Filipino culture (i.e., religion and intergenerational differences) helped to make this community–academic partnership successful. For physicians-in-training who are conducting community-based participatory research (CBPR), project challenges may include difficulties in building and maintaining academic–community relationships, struggles to promote sustainability, and conflicting goals of “community insiders” and “academic outsiders.” Authors offer insights and implications for residents interested in practicing CBPR.
CBPR is a key tool for exploring health issues in understudied populations. CBPR experiences can provide meaningful educational opportunities for physicians-in-training and can build sustained capacity in CBOs. They can also help residents to develop analytic skills, directly affect the health of the communities they serve, and, for minority physicians, give back to the communities they call home.
Filipino American; health disparities; community capacity building; adolescent pregnancy; participatory research; medical education
Despite the importance of community health workers (CHWs) in strategies to reduce health disparities and the call to enhance their roles in research, little information exists on how to prepare CHWs involved in community–academic initiatives (CAIs). Therefore, the New York University Prevention Research Center piloted a CAI–CHW training program.
We applied a core competency framework to an existing CHW curriculum and bolstered the curriculum to include research-specific sessions. We employed diverse training methods, guided by adult learning principles and popular education philosophy. Evaluation instruments assessed changes related to confidence, intention to use learned skills, usefulness of sessions, and satisfaction with the training.
Results demonstrated that a core competency–based training can successfully affect CHWs’ perceived confidence and intentions to apply learned content, and can provide a larger social justice context of their role and work.
This program demonstrates that a core competency–based framework coupled with CAI-research–specific skill sessions (1) provides skills that CAI–CHWs intend to use, (2) builds confidence, and (3) provides participants with a more contextualized view of client needs and CHW roles.
New Zealand's health sector has undergone three significant restructures within 10 years. The most recent has involved a Primary Health Care Strategy, launched in 2001. Primary Health Organisations (PHOs), administered by 21 District Health Boards, are the local structures for implementing the Primary Health Care Strategy. Ninety-three percent of the New Zealand population is now enrolled within 79 PHOs, which pose a challenge to the well-established Independent Practitioner Associations (IPAs).
Although there was initial widespread support for the philosophy underlying the Primary Health Care Strategy, there are concerns amongst general practitioners (GPs) and their professional organisations relating to its implementation. These centre around 6 main issues:
1. Loss of autonomy
2. Inadequate management funding and support
3. Inconsistency and variations in contracting processes
4. Lack of publicity and advice around enrolment issues
5. Workforce and workload issues
6. Financial risks
On the other hand, many GPs are feeling positive regarding the opportunities for PHOs, particularly for being involved in the provision of a wider range of community health services. Australia has much to learn from New Zealand's latest health sector and primary health care reforms.
The key lessons concern:
• the need for a national primary health care strategy
• active engagement of general practitioners and their professional organisations
• recognition of implementation costs
• the need for infrastructural support, including information technology and quality systems
• robust management and governance arrangements
• issues related to critical mass and population/distance trade offs in service delivery models
Establishing healthy habits in youth can help prevent many chronic health problems later in life that are attributable to unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, and overweight. For this reason, many public health professionals are interested in working with school systems to reach children in school settings. However, a lack of familiarity with how schools operate can be a substantial impediment to developing effective partnerships with schools.
We describe lessons learned from three successful school health promotion programs that were developed and disseminated through collaborations between public health professionals, academic institutions, and school personnel. The programs include two focused on physical activity and good nutrition for elementary and middle school children — Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) and Planet Health — and one focused on smoking cessation among adolescents — Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T).
Important features of these school health programs include 1) identification of staff and resources required for program implementation and dissemination; 2) involvement of stakeholders (e.g., teachers, students, other school personnel, parents, nonprofit organizations, professional organizations) during all phases of program development and dissemination; 3) planning for dissemination of programs early in the development and testing process; and 4) rigorous evaluation of interventions to determine their effectiveness. The authors provide advice based on lessons learned from these programs to those who wish to work with young people in schools.
A World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (2009) joint statement recommended home visits by community-based agents as a strategy to improve newborn survival, based on promising results from Asia. This article presents detailed evaluation of community volunteer assessment and referral implemented within the Ghana Newhints home visits cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). It highlights the lessons learned to inform implementation/scale-up of this model in similar settings. The evaluation used a conceptual framework adopted for increasing access to care for sick newborns and involves three main steps, each with a specific goal and key requirements to achieving this. These steps are: sick newborns are identified within communities and referred; families comply with referrals and referred babies receive appropriate management at health facilities. Evaluation data included interviews with 4006 recently delivered mothers; records on 759 directly observed volunteer assessments and 52 validation of supervisors’ assessments; newborn care quality assessment in 86 health facilities and in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 55 mothers, 21 volunteers and 15 health professionals. Assessment accuracy of volunteers against supervisors and physician was assessed using Kappa (agreement coefficient). IDIs were analysed by generating and indexing into themes, and exploring relationships between themes and their contextual interpretations. This evaluation demonstrated that identifying, understanding and implementing the key requirements for success in each step of volunteer assessment and referrals was pivotal to success. In Newhints, volunteers (CBSVs) were trusted by families, their visits were acceptable and they engaged mothers/families in decisions, resulting in unprecedented 86% referral compliance and increased (55–77%) care seeking for sick newborns. Poor facility care quality, characterized by poor health worker attitudes, limited the mortality reduction. The important implication for future implementation of home visits in similar settings is that, with 100% specificity but 80% sensitivity of referral decisions, volunteers might miss some danger signs but if successful implementation must translate into mortality reductions, concurrent improvement in facility newborn care quality is imperative.
Assessment and referral; community; implementation; newborns
Resident interest in global health care training is growing and has been shown to have a positive effect on participants' clinical skills and cultural competency. In addition, it is associated with career choices in primary care, public health, and in the service of underserved populations. The purpose of this study was to explore, through reflective practice, how participation in a formal global health training program influences pediatric residents' perspectives when caring for diverse patient populations.
Thirteen pediatric and combined-program residents enrolled in a year-long Global Health Scholars Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center during the 2007–2008 academic year. Educational interventions included a written curriculum, a lecture series, one-on-one mentoring sessions, an experience abroad, and reflective journaling assignments. The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene global health competencies were used as an a priori coding framework to qualitatively analyze the reflective journal entries of the residents.
Four themes emerged from the coded journal passages from all 13 residents: (1) the burden of global disease, as a heightened awareness of the diseases that affect humans worldwide; (2) immigrant/underserved health, reflected in a desire to apply lessons learned abroad at home to provide more culturally effective care to immigrant patients in the United States; (3) parenting, or observed parental, longing to assure that their children receive health care; and (4) humanitarianism, expressed as the desire to volunteer in future humanitarian health efforts in the United States and abroad.
Our findings suggest that participating in a global health training program helped residents begin to acquire competence in the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene competency domains. Such training also may strengthen residents' acquisition of professional skills, including the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies.
Including support staff in practice change initiatives is a promising strategy to successfully implement new reproductive health services. The Resident Training Initiative in Miscarriage Management (RTI-MM) is an intervention designed to facilitate implementation of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) for management of spontaneous abortion. The purpose of this study was to identify training program components that enhanced interprofessional training and provide lessons learned for engaging support staff in implementing uterine evacuation services.
We conducted a secondary analysis of qualitative data to identify themes within three broad areas: interprofessional education, the role of support staff, and RTI-MM program components that facilitated support staff engagement in the process of implementing MVA services.
We identified three key themes around interprofessional training and the role of support staff: “Training together is rare,” “Support staff are crucial to practice change,” and “Transparency, peers and champions.”
We present lessons learned that may be transferrable to other clinic sites: engage site leadership in a commitment to interprofessional training; engage support staff as teachers and learners and in shared values and building professionalism.
This manuscript adds to what is known about how to employ interprofessional education and training to engage support staff in reproductive health services practice change initiatives. Lessons learned may provide guidance to clinical sites interested in interprofessional training, improving service delivery, or implementing new services.
Practice change; Miscarriage; Team training; Implementation; Support staff
Obesity is a major public health issue; however, only limited evidence is available about effective ways to prevent obesity, particularly in early childhood. Romp & Chomp was a community-wide obesity prevention intervention conducted in Geelong Australia with a target group of 12,000 children aged 0-5 years. The intervention had an environmental and capacity building focus and we have recently demonstrated that the prevalence of overweight/obesity was lower in intervention children, post-intervention. Capacity building is defined as the development of knowledge, skills, commitment, structures, systems and leadership to enable effective health promotion and the aim of this study was to determine if the capacity of the Geelong community, represented by key stakeholder organisations, to support healthy eating and physical activity for young children was increased after Romp & Chomp.
A mixed methods evaluation with three data sources was utilised. 1) Document analysis comprised assessment of the documented formative and intervention activities against a capacity building framework (five domains: Partnerships, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Workforce Development, and Organisational Development); 2) Thematic analysis of key informant interviews (n = 16); and 3) the quantitative Community Capacity Index Survey.
Document analysis showed that the majority of the capacity building activities addressed the Partnerships, Resource Allocation and Organisational Development domains of capacity building, with a lack of activity in the Leadership and Workforce Development domains. The thematic analysis revealed the establishment of sustainable partnerships, use of specialist advice, and integration of activities into ongoing formal training for early childhood workers. Complex issues also emerged from the key informant interviews regarding the challenges of limited funding, high staff turnover, changing governance structures, lack of high level leadership and unclear communication strategies. The Community Capacity Index provided further evidence that the project implementation network achieved a moderate level of capacity.
Romp & Chomp increased the capacity of organisations, settings and services in the Geelong community to support healthy eating and physical activity for young children. Despite this success there are important learnings from this mixed methods evaluation that should inform current and future community-based public health and health promotion initiatives.
Trial Registration Number
International health organizations and officials are bracing for a pandemic. Although the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Toronto did not reach such a level, it created a unique opportunity to identify the optimal use of the Internet to promote communication with the public and to preserve health services during an epidemic.
The aim of the study was to explore patients’ attitudes regarding the health services that might be provided through the Internet to supplement those traditionally available in the event of a future mass emergency situation.
We conducted “mask-to-mask” surveys of patients at three major teaching hospitals in Toronto during the second outbreak of SARS. Patients were surveyed at the hospital entrances and selected clinics. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were used for the analysis.
In total, 1019 of 1130 patients responded to the survey (90% overall response rate). With respect to Internet use, 70% (711/1019) used the Internet by themselves and 57% (578/1019) with the help of a friend or family member. Of the Internet users, 68% (485/711) had already searched the World Wide Web for health information, and 75% (533/711) were interested in communicating with health professionals using the Internet as part of their ongoing care. Internet users expressed interest in using the Web for the following reasons: to learn about their health condition through patient education materials (84%), to obtain information about the status of their clinic appointments (83%), to send feedback to the hospital about how to improve its services (77%), to access screening tools to help determine if they were potentially affected by the infectious agent responsible for the outbreak (77%), to renew prescriptions (75%), to consult with their health professional about nonurgent matters (75%), and to access laboratory test results (75%). Regression results showed that younger age, higher education, and English as a first language were predictors of patients’ interest in using Internet services in the event of an epidemic.
Most patients are willing and able to use the Internet as a means to maintain communication with the hospital during an outbreak of an infectious disease such as SARS. Hospitals should explore new ways to interact with the public, to provide relevant health information, and to ensure continuity of care when they are forced to restrict their services.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome; communicable diseases, emerging; information services; Internet; public health; questionnaires
Research indicates that insufficient emphasis on community collaboration and partnership can thwart innovative community-driven work on the social determinants of health by local health departments. Appreciating the importance of enhancing community participation, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) helped lead the development of the Health Equity Project (HEP), an intervention aimed at increasing the capacity of urban youth to identify and take action to reduce food-related health disparities. DOHMH partnered with the City University of New York School of Public Health and several local youth organizations to design and implement the intervention. HEP was conducted with 373 young people in 17 cohorts at 14 unique sites: six in Brooklyn, six in the Bronx, and two in Harlem. Partnered youth organizations hosted three stages of work: interactive workshops on neighborhood health disparities, food environments, and health outcomes; food-focused research projects conducted by youth; and small-scale action projects designed to change local food environments. Through these activities, HEP appears to have been successful in introducing youth to the social, economic, and political factors that shape food environments and to the influence of food on health outcomes. The intervention was also somewhat successful in providing youth with community-based participatory research skills and engaging them in documenting and then acting to change their neighborhood food environments. In the short term, we are unable to assess how successful HEP has been in building young leaders who will continue to engage in this kind of activism, but we suspect that more extended interactions would be needed to achieve this more ambitious goal. Experiences at these sites suggest that youth organizations with a demonstrated capacity to engage youth in community service or activism and a commitment to improving food or other health-promoting community resources make the most suitable and successful partners for this kind of effort.
Food environments; Youth; Activism; Community health; Local health department; Partnerships; Dialogue; Curriculum
Interest in community-based interventions (CBIs) for health promotion is increasing, with a lot of recent activity in the field. This paper aims, from a state government perspective, to examine the experience of funding and managing six obesity prevention CBIs, to identify lessons learned and to consider the implications for future investment. Specifically, we focus on the planning, government support, evaluation, research and workforce development required.
The lessons presented in this paper come from analysis of key project documents, the experience of the authors in managing the projects and from feedback obtained from key program stakeholders.
CBIs require careful management, including sufficient planning time and clear governance structures. Selection of interventions should be based on evidence and tailored to local needs to ensure adequate penetration in the community. Workforce and community capacity must be assessed and addressed when selecting communities. Supporting the health promotion workforce to become adequately skilled and experienced in evaluation and research is also necessary before implementation.
Comprehensive evaluation of future projects is challenging on both technical and affordability grounds. Greater emphasis may be needed on process evaluation complemented by organisation-level measures of impact and monitoring of nutrition and physical activity behaviours.
CBIs offer potential as one of a mix of approaches to obesity prevention. If successful approaches are to be expanded, care must be taken to incorporate lessons from existing and past projects. To do this, government must show strong leadership and work in partnership with the research community and local practitioners.
The environmental scan is a tool that can be utilized to collect data to design health programs uniquely tailored to the needs of communities. However, it remains relatively undefined, unevaluated and underutilized in the field of public health. While individual studies indicate the utility of the environmental scan for public health, it is difficult to find a theoretical framework or guidelines on how to design, implement or evaluate the process within public health practice. The purpose of this study was to elicit lessons learned to maximize the utility of the environmental scan as a tool for public health. This process occurred through the development and implementation of an environmental scan as part of the needs-assessment phase of a project to increase cancer screening among African Americans in Baltimore, MD. Data collection methods for the environmental scan included a review of community stakeholders, cancer incidence and community assets and liabilities in target communities, focus-group sessions and key informant interviews with service providers. The environmental scan was conducted in 2003 and allowed for rapid acquisition and use of information about events, trends and relationships in the neighborhoods targeted for our project and enabled researchers to move forward with implementing the cancer-screening project. The researchers conclude that the environmental scan has considerable potential to be a creative, responsive, cost-effective and mobilizing tool for public health practice. However, further application and critical review are necessary to make it a more effective public health tool and an established research methodology.
When catastrophic disasters such as Hurricane Katrina strike, psychologists and other mental health professionals often wonder how to use resources and fill needed roles. We argue that conducting clinical research in response to disasters is 1 important way that these professionals can contribute. However, we recognize that designing and implementing a clinical research study can be a daunting task, particularly in the context of the personal and system-wide chaos that follows most disasters. Thus, we offer a detailed description of our own experiences with conducting clinical research as part of our response to Hurricane Katrina. We describe our study design, recruitment and data collection efforts, and summarize and synthesize the lessons we have learned from this endeavor. Our hope is that others who may wish to conduct disaster-related research will learn from our mistakes and successes.
clinical research; disasters; Hurricane Katrina; roles
Competency in practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI) and systems-based practice (SBP) empowers learners with the skills to plan, lead, and execute health care systems improvement efforts. Experiences from several graduate medical education programs describe the implementation of PBLI and SBP curricula as challenging because of lack of adequate curricular time and faculty resources, as well as a perception that PBLI and SBP are not relevant to future careers. A dedicated experiential rotation that requires fellow participation in a specialty-specific quality improvement project (QIP) may address some of these challenges.
We describe a retrospective analysis of our 5-year experience with a dedicated 3-week PBLI-SBP experiential curriculum in a preventive medicine fellowship program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Between 2004 and 2008, 19 learners including 7 preventive medicine fellows participated in the rotation. Using just-in-time learning, fellows work together on a relatively complex QIP of community or institutional significance. Since 2004, all 19 learners (100%) participating in this rotation have consistently demonstrated statistically significant increase in their quality improvement knowledge application tool (QIKAT) scores at the end of the rotation. At the end of the rotation, all 19 learners stated that they were either confident or very confident of making a change to improve health care in a local setting. Most of the QIPs resulted in sustainable practice improvements, and resultant solutions have been disseminated beyond the location of the original QIP.
A dedicated experiential rotation that requires learner participation in a QIP is one of the effective methods to address the needs of the SBP and PBLI competencies.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) calls for a reduction in health disparities, a reduction in new HIV infections, and improved retention in HIV care and treatment. It acknowledges that HIV-positive peers can play an important role in supporting these aims. However, peer training must be comprehensive enough to equip peers with the knowledge and skills needed for this work. This article describes the development of a national train the trainer (TTT) model for HIV peer educators, and the results of its implementation and replication. A mixed methods evaluation identified who was trained locally as a result of TTT implementation, what aspects of the TTT were most useful to trainers in implementing local training sessions, and areas for improvement. Over the course of 1 year, 91 individuals were trained at 1 of 6 TTT sessions. These individuals then conducted 26 local training sessions for 272 peers. Factors that facilitated local replication training included the teach-back/feedback model, faculty modeling of facilitation styles, financial support for training logistics, and faculty support in designing and implementing the training. The model could be improved by providing instruction on how to incorporate peers as part of the training team. TTT programs that are easily replicable in the community will be an important asset in developing a peer workforce that can help implement the National AIDS Strategy.
Effective case management of uncomplicated malaria is a fundamental pillar of malaria control. Little is known about the various steps in designing interventions to accompany the roll out of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). This study documents the process of designing and implementing interventions to change clinicians’ practice in the management of uncomplicated malaria.
A literature review combined with formative quantitative and qualitative research were carried out to determine patterns of malaria diagnosis and treatment and to understand how malaria and its treatment are enacted by clinicians. These findings were used, alongside a comprehensive review of previous interventions, to identify possible strategies for changing the behaviour of clinicians when diagnosing and treating uncomplicated malaria. These strategies were discussed with ministry of health representatives and other stakeholders. Two intervention packages - a basic and an enhanced training were outlined, together with logic model to show how each was hypothesized to increase testing for malaria, improve adherence to test results and increase appropriate use of ACT. The basic training targeted clinicians’ knowledge of malaria diagnosis, rapid diagnostic testing and malaria treatment. The enhanced training included additional modules on adapting to change, professionalism and communicating effectively. Modules were delivered using small-group work, card games, drama and role play. Interventions were piloted, adapted and trainers were trained before final implementation.
Ninety-six clinicians from 37 health facilities in Bamenda and Yaounde sites attended either 1-day basic or 3-day enhanced training. The trained clinicians then trained 632 of their peers at their health facilities. Evaluation of the training revealed that 68% of participants receiving the basic and 92% of those receiving the enhanced training strongly agreed that it is not appropriate to prescribe anti-malarials to a patient if they have a negative RDT result.
Formative research was an important first step, and it was valuable to engage stakeholders early in the process. A logic model and literature reviews were useful to identify key elements and mechanisms for behaviour change intervention. An iterative process with feedback loops allowed appropriate development and implementation of the intervention.
Intervention design; Clinicians; Malaria; Cluster randomized trial; Cameroon
The purpose of this article is to share lessons learned from implementing community-based participatory research (CBPR) in Indian Country that may be generalizable to other medically underserved communities. CBPR is currently included in multiple grant announcements by the National Institute of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but information about this methodology vs traditional research methodology is often misleading. This article addresses some common mistakes made by academic research institutes by sharing what we have learned about how CBPR can be implemented in a respectful manner. The majority of tribal Nations prefer, if not mandate, that CBPR be used in most proposed studies involving their communities today.
There is limited evidence regarding the best approaches to helping Indigenous Australians to stop smoking. The composite analysis of the only two smoking cessation randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating this suggests that one-on-one extra support delivered by and provided to Indigenous Australians in a primary health care setting appears to be more effective than usual care in encouraging smoking cessation. This paper describes the lessons learnt from one of these studies, the Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) Study, and how to develop and implement an integrated smoking cessation program.
Qualitative study using data collected from multiple documentary sources related to the BOABS Study. As the project neared completion the research team participated in four workshops to review and conduct thematic analyses of these documents.
Challenges we encountered during the relatively complex BOABS Study included recruiting sufficient number of participants; managing the project in two distant locations and ensuring high quality work across both sites; providing appropriate training and support to Aboriginal researchers; significant staff absences, staff shortages and high workforce turnover; determining where and how the project fitted in the clinics and consequent siloing of the Aboriginal researchers relating to the requirements of RCTs; resistance to change, and maintaining organisational commitment and priority for the project. The results of this study also demonstrated the importance of local Aboriginal ownership, commitment, participation and control. This included knowledge of local communities, the flexibility to adapt interventions to local settings and circumstances, and taking sufficient time to allow this to occur.
The keys to the success of the BOABS Study were local development, ownership and participation, worker professional development and support, and operating within a framework of cultural safety. There were difficulties associated with the BOABS Study being an RCT, and many of these are shared with stand-alone programs. Interventions targeted at particular health problems are best integrated with usual primary health care. Research to investigate complex interventions in Indigenous health should not be limited to randomised clinical trials and funding needs to reflect the additional, but necessary, cost of providing for local control of planning and implementation.
Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Smoking cessation; Be Our Ally Beat Smoking (BOABS) study; Qualitative; Randomised controlled trial
The Awareness program was designed as a part of the EU-funded Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) intervention study to promote mental health of adolescents in 11 European countries by helping them to develop problem-solving skills and encouraging them to self-recognize the need for help as well as how to help peers in need.
For this descriptive study all coordinators of the SEYLE Awareness program answered an open-ended evaluation questionnaire at the end of the project implementation. Their answers were synthesized and analyzed and are presented here.
The results show that the program cultivated peer understanding and support. Adolescents not only learned about mental health by participating in the Awareness program, but the majority of them also greatly enjoyed the experience.
Recommendations for enhancing the successes of mental health awareness programs are presented. Help and cooperation from schools, teachers, local politicians and other stakeholders will lead to more efficacious future programs.
Youth; Adolescents; Mental health; School-based; Awareness program; Suicide prevention; SEYLE; Intervention