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1.  “Working the System”—British American Tobacco's Influence on the European Union Treaty and Its Implications for Policy: An Analysis of Internal Tobacco Industry Documents 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(1):e1000202.
Katherine Smith and colleagues investigate the ways in which British American Tobacco influenced the European Union Treaty so that new EU policies advance the interests of major corporations, including those that produce products damaging to health.
Impact assessment (IA) of all major European Union (EU) policies is now mandatory. The form of IA used has been criticised for favouring corporate interests by overemphasising economic impacts and failing to adequately assess health impacts. Our study sought to assess how, why, and in what ways corporations, and particularly the tobacco industry, influenced the EU's approach to IA.
Methods and Findings
In order to identify whether industry played a role in promoting this system of IA within the EU, we analysed internal documents from British American Tobacco (BAT) that were disclosed following a series of litigation cases in the United States. We combined this analysis with one of related literature and interviews with key informants. Our analysis demonstrates that from 1995 onwards BAT actively worked with other corporate actors to successfully promote a business-oriented form of IA that favoured large corporations. It appears that BAT favoured this form of IA because it could advance the company's European interests by establishing ground rules for policymaking that would: (i) provide an economic framework for evaluating all policy decisions, implicitly prioritising costs to businesses; (ii) secure early corporate involvement in policy discussions; (iii) bestow the corporate sector with a long-term advantage over other actors by increasing policymakers' dependence on information they supplied; and (iv) provide businesses with a persuasive means of challenging potential and existing legislation. The data reveal that an ensuing lobbying campaign, largely driven by BAT, helped secure binding changes to the EU Treaty via the Treaty of Amsterdam that required EU policymakers to minimise legislative burdens on businesses. Efforts subsequently focused on ensuring that these Treaty changes were translated into the application of a business orientated form of IA (cost–benefit analysis [CBA]) within EU policymaking procedures. Both the tobacco and chemical industries have since employed IA in apparent attempts to undermine key aspects of European policies designed to protect public health.
Our findings suggest that BAT and its corporate allies have fundamentally altered the way in which all EU policy is made by making a business-oriented form of IA mandatory. This increases the likelihood that the EU will produce policies that advance the interests of major corporations, including those that produce products damaging to health, rather than in the interests of its citizens. Given that the public health community, focusing on health IA, has largely welcomed the increasing policy interest in IA, this suggests that urgent consideration is required of the ways in which IA can be employed to undermine, as well as support, effective public health policies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The primary goal of public health, the branch of medicine concerned with the health of communities, is to improve lives by preventing disease. Public-health groups do this by assessing and monitoring the health of communities, by ensuring that populations have access to appropriate and cost-effective health care, and by helping to formulate public policies that safeguard human health. Until recently, most of the world's major public-health concerns related to infectious diseases. Nowadays, however, many major public-health concerns are linked to the goods made and marketed by large corporations such as fast food, alcohol, tobacco, and chemicals. In Europe, these corporations are regulated by policies drawn up both by member states and by the European Commission, the executive organ of the European Union (EU; an economic and political partnership among 27 democratic European countries). Thus, for example, the tobacco industry, which is widely recognized as a driver of the smoking epidemic, is regulated by Europe-wide tobacco control policies and member state level policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Since 1997, the European Commission has been required by law to assess the economic, social (including health), and environmental consequences of new policy initiatives using a process called an “impact assessment” (IA). Because different types of IA examine the likely effects of policies on different aspects of daily life—a health impact assessment, for example, focuses on a policy's effect on health—the choice of IA can lead to different decisions being taken about new policies. Although the IA tool adopted by the European Commission aims to assess economic, environmental and social impacts, independent experts suggest this tool does not adequately assess health impacts. Instead, economic impacts receive the most attention, a situation that may favour the interests of large businesses. In this study, the researchers seek to identify how and why the EU's approach to IA developed. More specifically, the researchers analyze internal documents from British American Tobacco (BAT), which have been disclosed because of US litigation cases, to find out whether industry has played a role in promoting the EU's system of IA.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed 714 BAT internal documents (identified by searching the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, which contains more than 10 million internal tobacco company documents) that concerned attempts made by BAT to influence regulatory reforms in Europe. They also analyzed related literature from other sources (for example, academic publications) and interviewed 16 relevant people (including people who had worked at the European Commission). This analysis shows that from 1995, BAT worked with other businesses to promote European regulatory reforms (in particular, the establishment of a business-orientated form of IA) that favor large corporations. A lobbying campaign, initiated by BAT but involving a “policy network” of other companies, first helped to secure binding changes to the EU Treaty that require policymakers to minimize legislative burdens on businesses. The analysis shows that after achieving this goal, which BAT described as an “important victory,” further lobbying ensured that these treaty changes were translated into the implementation of a business-orientated form of IA within the EU. Both the tobacco industry and the chemical industry, the researchers argue, have since used the IA to delay and/or weaken EU legislation intended to protect public health.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that BAT and its corporate allies have fundamentally altered the way in which EU policy is made by ensuring that all significant EU policy decisions have to be assessed using a business-orientated IA. As the authors note, this situation increases the likelihood that the EU will produce policies that favor big business rather than the health of its citizens. Furthermore, these findings suggest that by establishing a network of other industries to help in lobbying for EU Treaty changes, BAT was able to distance itself from the push to establish a business-orientated IA to the extent that Commission officials were unaware of the involvement of the tobacco industry in campaigns for IA. Thus, in future, to safeguard public health, policymakers and public-health groups must pay more attention to corporate efforts to shape decision-making processes. In addition, public-health groups must take account of the ways in which IA can be used to undermine as well as support effective public-health policies and they must collaborate more closely in their efforts to ensure effective national and international policy.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Wikipedia has a page on public health (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
More information on the European Union (in several languages), on public health in the European Union, and on impact assessment by the European Commission is available
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library is a public, searchable database of tobacco company internal documents detailing their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and scientific activities
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages)
The Smoke Free Partnership contains more information about smoking prevalence in Europe and about European policies to tackle the public health issues associated with tobacco use
For more information about tobacco industry influence on policy see the 2009 World Health Organization report on tobacco industry interference with tobacco control
PMCID: PMC2797088  PMID: 20084098
2.  Developing a new Practice-based Research Network (PBRN): lessons learned and challenges ahead 
We recently completed a strategic planning process to better understand the development of our five-year-old PBRN and to identify gaps between our original vision and current progress. While many of our experiences are not new to the PBRN community, our reflections may be valuable for those developing or re-shaping PBRNs in a changing health care environment.
Lessons Learned
We learned about the importance of: (1) Shared vision and commitment to a unique patient population; (2) Strong leadership, mentorship, and collaboration; (3) Creative approaches to engaging busy clinicians and bridging the worlds of academia and community practice; (4) Harnessing data from electronic health records and navigating processes related to data protection, sharing, and ownership.
Challenges Ahead
We must emphasize research that is timely, relevant, and integrated into practice. One model supporting this goal involves a broader partnership than was initially envisioned for our PBRN, one which includes clinicians, researchers, information architects and quality improvement experts partnering to develop an Innovation Center. This Center could facilitate development of relevant research questions while also addressing ‘quick-turnaround’ needs.
Gaps remain between our PBRN’s initial vision and current reality. Closing these gaps may require future creativity in partnership building and nontraditional funding sources.
PMCID: PMC3582650  PMID: 22956690
practice-based research; community health; primary care; electronic health records; health care safety net
3.  Local Health Department Capacity for Community Engagement and Its Implications for Disaster Resilience 
Over the past decade, community engagement has become a central tenet of US federal doctrine on public health emergency preparedness. Little is known, however, about how the vision of a ready, aware, and involved populace has translated into local practice, or which conditions thus far have advanced community involvement in what is typically considered the province of government authorities and emergency professionals. In 2011-12, to help close that knowledge gap, investigators carried out semistructured qualitative interviews with practitioners (N=25) from 7 local health departments about which conditions have advanced or inhibited community engagement in public health emergency preparedness. Among the organizational factors identified as enabling local health departments' involvement of community residents and groups in emergency preparedness were a supportive agency leadership and culture, sufficient staffing and programmatic funding, interested and willing partners, and external triggers such as federal grants and disaster experiences that spotlighted the importance of community relationships to effective response. Facing budget and staff cuts, local health departments feel increasingly constrained in efforts to build trusted and lasting preparedness ties with community partners. At the same time, some progress in preparedness partnerships may be possible in the context of agency leadership, culture, and climate that affirms the value of collaboration with the community.
The authors conducted interviews with practitioners from 7 local health departments about which conditions have advanced or inhibited community engagement in public health emergency preparedness. Among the organizational factors identified as enabling local health departments' involvement of the community in emergency preparedness were a supportive agency leadership and culture, sufficient staffing and programmatic funding, interested and willing partners, and external triggers, such as federal grants and disaster experiences that spotlighted the importance of community relationships. Facing budget and staff cuts, local health departments feel increasingly constrained in efforts to build trusted and lasting preparedness ties with community partners.
PMCID: PMC3689171  PMID: 23718765
4.  Establishing a Federal and State Data Exchange Pilot for Public Health Situational Awareness 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) partnered with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), Bureau of Epidemiology, to implement a new process for the unidirectional exchange of electronic medical record (EMR) data when ASPR clinical assets are operational in the state following a disaster or other response event. The purpose of the current work was to automate the exchange of data from the ASPR electronic medical record system EMR-S into the FDOH Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE-FL) system during the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC).
ASPR deploys clinical assets, including an EMR system, to the ground per state requests during planned and no-notice events. The analysis of patient data collected by deployed federal personnel is an integral part of ASPR and FDOH’s surveillance efforts. However, this surveillance can be hampered by the logistical issues of field work in a post-disaster environment leading to delayed analysis and interpretation of these data to inform decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels. FDOH operates ESSENCE-FL, a multi-tiered, automated, and secure web-based application for analysis and visualization of clinical data. The system is accessible statewide by FDOH staff as well as by hospitals that participate in the system. To improve surveillance ASPR and FDOH engaged in a pilot project whereby EMR data from ASPR would be sent to FDOH in near real-time during the 2012 hurricane season and the 2012 RNC. This project is in direct support of Healthcare Preparedness Capability 6, Information Sharing, and Public Health Preparedness Capability 13, Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation.
In 2011, FDOH approached ASPR about securely transmitting raw EMR data that could be ingested by ESSENCE-FL during ASPR deployments in the state. Upon conclusion of an agreement for a date exchange pilot, data elements of interest from the ASPR EMR were identified. Due to the modular design ESSENCE-FL Microsoft SQL databases were easily adapted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) to add a new module to handle receipt of ASPR EMR data including code to process the files, remove duplicates and create associations with existing reference information, such as system-defined geographic regions and age groups. Scripts were developed to run on the ASPR server to create and send updated files via secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) every 15 minutes to ESSENCE-FL. Prior ASPR event deployment data was scrubbed and sent to ESSENCE-FL as a test dataset to ensure appropriate receipt and ingestion of the new data source.
EMR data was transmitted through a central server at ASPR to ESSENCE-FL every 15 minutes during each day of the 2012 RNC (August 26–31). In ESSENCE-FL, configuration allowed the data to be queried, analyzed, and visualized similar to existing ESSENCE-FL data sources. In all, data from 11 patient encounters were successfully exchanged between the partners. The data were used by ASPR and FDOH to simultaneously monitor in near real-time onsite medical response activities during the convention.
Timely access to patient data can enhance situational awareness and disease surveillance efforts and provide decision makers with key information in an expedient manner during disaster response and mass gatherings such as the RNC. However, data are siloed within organizations. The collaboration between FDOH, ASPR and JHU/APL made EMR data sharing and analysis more expeditious and efficient and increased timely access to these data by local, state, and federal epidemiologists. The integration of these data into the ESSENCE-FL system created one location where users could go to access data and create epidemiologic reports for a given region in Florida, including the RNC. To achieve these successes with partners in the future, it will be necessary to develop partnerships well in advance of intended data exchange. Future recommendations include robust pre-event testing of the data exchange process and planning for a greater amount of lead-time between enacting the official agreement and beginning data exchange.
PMCID: PMC3692893
Syndromic surveillance; Public health informatics; Data exchange; Federal and state collaboration
5.  Establishing an implementation network: lessons learned from community-based participatory research 
Implementation of evidence-based mental health assessment and intervention in community public health practice is a high priority for multiple stakeholders. Academic-community partnerships can assist in the implementation of efficacious treatments in community settings; yet, little is known about the processes by which these collaborations are developed. In this paper, we discuss our application of community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to implementation, and we present six lessons we have learned from the establishment of an academic-community partnership.
With older adults with psychosis as a focus, we have developed a partnership between a university research center and a public mental health service system based on CBPR. The long-term goal of the partnership is to collaboratively establish an evidence-based implementation network that is sustainable within the public mental healthcare system.
In building a sustainable partnership, we found that the following lessons were instrumental: changing attitudes; sharing staff; expecting obstacles and formalizing solutions; monitoring and evaluating; adapting and adjusting; and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. Some of these lessons were previously known principles that were modified as the result of the CBPR process, while some lessons derived directly from the interactive process of forming the partnership.
The process of forming of academic-public partnerships is challenging and time consuming, yet crucial for the development and implementation of state-of-the-art approaches to assessment and interventions to improve the functioning and quality of life for persons with serious mental illnesses. These partnerships provide necessary organizational support to facilitate the implementation of clinical research findings in community practice benefiting consumers, researchers, and providers.
PMCID: PMC2670256  PMID: 19335915
6.  National Collaborative for Bio-Preparedness 
Demonstrate the functionality of the National Collaborative for Bio-Preparedness system.
The National Collaborative for Bio-Preparedness (NCB-Prepared) was established in 2010 to create a biosurveillance resource to enhance situational awareness and emergency preparedness. This joint-institutional effort has drawn on expertise from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and SAS Institute, leveraging North Carolina’s role as a leader in syndromic surveillance, technology development and health data standards. As an unprecedented public/private alliance, they bring the flexibility of the private sector to support the public sector. The project has developed a functioning prototype system for multiple states that will be scaled and made more robust for national adoption.
NCB-Prepared recognizes that the capability of any biosurveillance system is a function of the data is analyzes. NCB-Prepared is designed to provide information services that analyze and integrate national data across a variety of domains, such as human clinical, veterinary and physical data. In addition to this one-health approach to surveillance, a primary objective of NCB-Prepared is to gather data that is closer in time to the event of interest. NCB-Prepared has validated the usefulness of North Carolina emergency medical services data for the purposes of biosurveillance of both acute outbreaks and seasonal epidemics (1).
A unique model of user-driven valuing of data-providing value back to the provider in their terms-motivates collaboration from potential data providers, along with timely and complete data. NCB-Prepared approaches potential data providers, partners and users with the proposition that enhanced data quality and analysis is valuable to them individually and that an integrated information system can be valuable to all. With the onboarding of new data sources, NCB-Prepared implements a formal process of data discovery and integration. The goal of this process is three-fold: 1) to develop recommendations to enhance data quality going forward, 2) to integrate information across data sources, and 3) to develop novel analytic techniques for detecting health threats. NCB-Prepared is committed to both utilizing standard methods for event detection and to developing innovative analytics for biosurveillance such as the Text Analytics and Proportional charts method (TAP). The sophisticated analytic functionality of the system, including improved time to detection, query reporting, alert detection, forecasting and predictive modeling, can be attributed to collaboration between analysts from private industry, academia and public health.
NCB-Prepared followed the formal software development process known as agile development to create the user interface of the system. This method is based on iterative cycles wherein requirements evolve from regular sessions between user groups and developers. The result of agile development and collaborative relationships is a system which visualizes signals and diverse data sources across time and place while providing information services across all levels of users and stakeholders.
Lessons Learned: Understand the functionality of new biosurveillance system, NCB-PreparedIdentify the benefit of creating collaborative relationships with data providers and usersAppreciate the value of a public/private partnership for biosurveillance and bio-preparedness
PMCID: PMC3692851
Biosurveillance; Analytics; Preparedness; Emergency
7.  Building and Sustaining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research: Findings from a National Collaborative 
The Examining Community-Institutional Partnerships for Prevention Research Project began in October 2002 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research Center Program Office through a cooperative agreement between the Association of Schools of Public Health and the CDC. The three-year project aimed to synthesize knowledge about community-institutional partnerships for prevention research and to build community and institutional capacity for participatory research. These ten organizations collaborated on the project because they were all involved in community-institutional partnerships for prevention research, had access to research and evaluation data on these partnerships, and believed that the shared learning and action that would result through a collaborative effort could significantly advance collective knowledge about partnerships and lead to substantive capacity-building responses: the Community Health Scholars Program, Community-Based Public Health Caucus of the American Public Health Association, Community–Campus Partnerships for Health, Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center, Harlem Health Promotion Center, National Community Committee of the CDC Prevention Research Centers Program, New York Urban Research Center, Seattle Partners for Healthy Communities, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and the Wellesley Institute. This paper reports on the project’s findings, including common characteristics of successful partnerships and recommendations for strengthening emerging and established partnerships.
PMCID: PMC3261296  PMID: 17082993
Community-academic partnerships; Community-based participatory research; Partnership; Prevention.
8.  Moving research into practice: lessons from the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's IDSRN program 
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Integrated Delivery Systems Research Network (IDSRN) program was established to foster public-private collaboration between health services researchers and health care delivery systems. Its broad goal was to link researchers and delivery systems to encourage implementation of research into practice. We evaluated the program to address two primary questions: 1) How successful was IDSRN in generating research findings that could be applied in practice? and 2) What factors facilitate or impede such success?
We conducted in-person and telephone interviews with AHRQ staff and nine IDSRN partner organizations and their collaborators, reviewed program documents, analyzed projects funded through the program, and developed case studies of four IDSRN projects judged promising in supporting research implementation.
Participants reported that the IDSRN structure was valuable in creating closer ties between researchers and participating health systems. Of the 50 completed projects studied, 30 had an operational effect or use. Some kinds of projects were more successful than others in influencing operations. If certain conditions were met, a variety of partnership models successfully supported implementation. An internal champion was necessary for partnerships involving researchers based outside the delivery system. Case studies identified several factors important to success: responsiveness of project work to delivery system needs, ongoing funding to support multiple project phases, and development of applied products or tools that helped users see their operational relevance. Factors limiting success included limited project funding, competing demands on potential research users, and failure to reach the appropriate audience.
Forging stronger partnerships between researchers and delivery systems has the potential to make research more relevant to users, but these benefits require clear goals and appropriate targeting of resources. Trade-offs are inevitable. The health services research community can best consider such trade-offs and set priorities if there is more dialogue to identify areas and approaches where such partnerships may have the most promise. Though it has unique features, the IDSRN experience is relevant to research implementation in diverse settings.
PMCID: PMC1851710  PMID: 17394644
9.  The Private Partners of Public Health: Public-Private Alliances for Public Good 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2009;6(2):A69.
We sought to convey lessons learned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) about the value and challenges of private-sector alliances resulting in innovative health promotion strategies. Several PRCs based in a variety of workplace and community settings contributed.
We conducted interviews with principal investigators, a literature review, and a review of case studies of private-sector alliances in a microbusiness model, a macrobusiness model, and as multiparty partnerships supporting public health research, implementation, and human resource services.
Private-sector alliances provide many advantages, particularly access to specialized skills generally beyond the expertise of public health entities. These skills include manufacturing, distribution, marketing, business planning, and development. Alliances also allow ready access to employee populations. Public health entities can offer private-sector partners funding opportunities through special grants, data gathering and analysis skills, and enhanced project credibility and trust. Challenges to successful partnerships include time and resource availability and negotiating the cultural divide between public health and the private sector. Critical to success are knowledge of organizational culture, values, mission, currency, and methods of operation; an understanding of and ability to articulate the benefits of the alliance for each partner; and the ability and time to respond to unexpected changes and opportunities.
Private-public health alliances are challenging, and developing them takes time and resources, but aspects of these alliances can capitalize on partners' strengths, counteract weaknesses, and build collaborations that produce better outcomes than otherwise possible. Private partners may be necessary for program initiation or success. CDC guidelines and support materials may help nurture these alliances.
PMCID: PMC2687875  PMID: 19289012
10.  Engaging Youth in Food Activism in New York City: Lessons Learned from a Youth Organization, Health Department, and University Partnership 
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.
PMCID: PMC3462824  PMID: 22696174
Food environments; Youth; Activism; Community health; Local health department; Partnerships; Dialogue; Curriculum
11.  A Framework for Building Research Partnerships with First Nations Communities 
Solutions to complex health and environmental issues experienced by First Nations communities in Canada require the adoption of collaborative modes of research. The traditional “helicopter” approach to research applied in communities has led to disenchantment on the part of First Nations people and has impeded their willingness to participate in research. University researchers have tended to develop projects without community input and to adopt short term approaches to the entire process, perhaps a reflection of granting and publication cycles and other realities of academia. Researchers often enter communities, collect data without respect for local culture, and then exit, having had little or no community interaction or consideration of how results generated could benefit communities or lead to sustainable solutions. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) has emerged as an alternative to the helicopter approach and is promoted here as a method to research that will meet the objectives of both First Nations and research communities. CBPR is a collaborative approach that equitably involves all partners in the research process. Although the benefits of CBPR have been recognized by segments of the University research community, there exists a need for comprehensive changes in approaches to First Nations centered research, and additional guidance to researchers on how to establish respectful and productive partnerships with First Nations communities beyond a single funded research project. This article provides a brief overview of ethical guidelines developed for researchers planning studies involving Aboriginal people as well as the historical context and principles of CBPR. A framework for building research partnerships with First Nations communities that incorporates and builds upon the guidelines and principles of CBPR is then presented. The framework was based on 10 years’ experience working with First Nations communities in Saskatchewan. The framework for research partnership is composed of five phases. They are categorized as the pre-research, community consultation, community entry, research and research dissemination phases. These phases are cyclical, non-linear and interconnected. Elements of, and opportunities for, exploration, discussion, engagement, consultation, relationship building, partnership development, community involvement, and information sharing are key components of the five phases within the framework. The phases and elements within this proposed framework have been utilized to build and implement sustainable collaborative environmental health research projects with Saskatchewan First Nations communities.
PMCID: PMC4024052  PMID: 24855374
Saskatchewan first nations; community-based participatory research; framework; engagement; consultation; ethical partnership
12.  A thematic analysis of the role of the organisation in building allied health research capacity: a senior managers’ perspective 
Evidence-based practice aims to achieve better health outcomes in the community. It relies on high quality research to inform policy and practice; however research in primary health care continues to lag behind that of other medical professions. The literature suggests that research capacity building (RCB) functions across four levels; individual, team, organisation and external environment. Many RCB interventions are aimed at an individual or team level, yet evidence indicates that many barriers to RCB occur at an organisational or external environment level. This study asks senior managers from a large healthcare organisation to identify the barriers and enablers to RCB. The paper then describes strategies for building allied health (AH) research capacity at an organisational level from a senior managers’ perspective.
This qualitative study is part of a larger collaborative RCB project. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with nine allied health senior managers. Recorded interviews were transcribed and NVivo was used to analyse findings and emergent themes were defined.
The dominant themes indicate that the organisation plays an integral role in building AH research capacity and is the critical link in creating synergy across the four levels of RCB. The organisation can achieve this by incorporating research into its core business with a whole of organisation approach including its mission, vision and strategic planning. Critical success factors include: developing a co-ordinated and multidisciplinary approach to attain critical mass of research-active AH and enhance learning and development; support from senior managers demonstrated through structures, processes and systems designed to facilitate research; forming partnerships to increase collaboration and sharing of resources and knowledge; and establishing in internal framework to promote recognition for research and career path opportunities.
This study identifies four key themes: whole of organisation approach; structures, processes and systems; partnerships and collaboration; and dedicated research centres, units and positions. These themes form the foundation of a model which can be applied to assist in achieving synergy across the four levels of RCB, overcome barriers and create an environment that supports and facilitates research development in AH.
PMCID: PMC3464180  PMID: 22920443
Research capacity building; Organisational role; Allied health
13.  The StrongWomen Change Clubs: Engaging Residents to Catalyze Positive Change in Food and Physical Activity Environments 
Introduction. The epidemic of obesity is a multifaceted public health issue. Positive policy and environmental changes are needed to support healthier eating and increased physical activity. Methods. StrongWomen Change Clubs (SWCCs) were developed through an academic-community research partnership between researchers at Cornell University and Tufts University and community partners (cooperative extension educators) in rural towns in seven U.S. states. Extension educators served as the local leader and each recruited 10–15 residents to undertake a project to improve some aspect of the nutrition or physical activity environment. Most residents had limited (or no) experience in civic engagement. At 6 and 12 months after implementation, the research team conducted key informant interviews with SWCC leaders to capture their perceptions of program process, benchmark achievement, and self-efficacy. Results. At 12 months, each SWCC had accomplished one benchmark; the majority had completed three or more benchmarks. They described common processes for achieving benchmarks such as building relationships and leveraging stakeholder partnerships. Barriers to benchmark achievement included busy schedules and resistance to and slow pace of change. Conclusion. Findings suggest that community change initiatives that involve stakeholders, build upon existing activities and organizational resources, and establish feasible timelines and goals can successfully catalyze environmental change.
PMCID: PMC4265724  PMID: 25525441
14.  Capacity building for child health: Canadian paediatricians in Uganda 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2005;10(5):273-276.
For six years, Canadian paediatricians have worked in partnership with their Ugandan colleagues to promote improved child health in southwestern Uganda.
To describe a collaboration between the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Canadian partners that aims to build local capacity in child health through support of training at university, community and health centre levels.
Three low-cost initiatives are now implemented. At the university level, volunteer Canadian paediatricians support Ugandan faculty colleagues through teaching health care trainees at a busy tertiary referral and teaching hospital. In the community, the Healthy Child Project helps Ugandans train local health volunteers who educate mothers and caregivers about child health. At health centres in the Mbarara and Bushenyi Districts, Canadians support a locally initiated outreach program that provides paediatric consultation and continuing medical education for staff at rural health posts.
Ugandans and Canadians have benefited from this collaboration. Hundreds of Ugandan undergraduate and graduate health care trainees, more than 100 community volunteers and numerous local health practitioners have received child health training through one of these three Canadian-supported paediatric initiatives. More than 25 Canadian paediatricians have benefited greatly from their overseas teaching and clinical experience.
The strength of this collaboration is a shared interest in improving child health in southwestern Uganda. A strong Ugandan-Canadian partnership has built significant child health capacity with great benefit to both partners. These initiatives may serve as a model for other child health providers wishing to support capacity-building initiatives in less developed countries to improve global health.
PMCID: PMC2722544  PMID: 19668631
Capacity building; Child health; Community-based health care; Education; International health; Less developed countries; Model; Volunteers
15.  An Academic-Health Service Partnership in Nursing: Lessons from the Field 
To describe the development of an academic-health services partnership undertaken to improve use of evidence in clinical practice.
Academic health science schools and health service settings share common elements of their missions: to educate, participate in research, and excel in healthcare delivery, but differences in the business models, incentives, and approaches to problem-solving can lead to differences in priorities. Thus, academic and health service settings do not naturally align their leadership structures or work processes. We established a common commitment to accelerate the appropriate use of evidence in clinical practice and created an organizational structure to optimize opportunities for partnering that would leverage shared resources to achieve our goal.
A jointly governed and funded institute integrated existing activities from the academic and service sectors. Additional resources included clinical staff and student training and mentoring, a pilot research grant-funding program, and support to access existing data. Emergent developments include an appreciation for a wider range of investigative methodologies and cross-disciplinary teams with skills to integrate research in daily practice and improve patient outcomes.
By developing an integrated leadership structure and commitment to shared goals, we developed a framework for integrating academic and health service resources, leveraging additional resources, and forming a mutually beneficial partnership to improve clinical outcomes for patients.
PMCID: PMC3759746  PMID: 22339774
academic-service partnership; academic medical center; evidence-based practice (EBP); nursing research; healthcare delivery
16.  A new model of care collaboration for community-dwelling elders: findings and lessons learned from the NORC-health care linkage evaluation 
Providing care for older individuals with chronic illnesses in the community requires a model of service delivery that takes into account both physical health and social health needs. However, packaging care in this way does not fit into existing service or reimbursement structures in the US, and there are few financial incentives that encourage service coordination. Lack of coordinated care can negatively affect access to high quality, appropriate care, putting seniors' physical and mental health and quality of life at risk, as well as their ability to stay in the community. Supportive Social Programs (SSPs), operating in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), attempt to increase access to care and enhance care quality for aging residents through outreach and service facilitation. Since their inception in 1986, NORC-SSPs have partnered with local health care providers to address both individual and community-wide health issues; however, each sector continues to operate along functional lines, and on a reactive basis. This article presents findings from an evaluation conducted from 2002 to 2006 looking at the feasibility, quality and outcomes of linking health and social services through innovative NORC-SSP and health organization partnerships.
Four NORC-SSPs participated in the study by finding a health care provider to collaborate on addressing health conditions that could benefit from a biopsychosocial approach. Each site focused on a specific population, a specific condition or problem, and created different linkages to address the target problem. Using a case study approach, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods, this evaluation sought to answer the following two primary questions: 1) have the participating sites created viable linkages between the participating organizations that did not exist prior to the study; and, 2) to what extent have the linkages resulted in improvements in clinical and other health and social outcomes?
Findings suggest that immediate outcomes were widely achieved across sites: knowledge of other sector providers' capabilities and services increased; communication across providers increased; identification of target population increased; and, awareness of risks, symptoms and healthy behaviors among clients/patients increased. Furthermore, intermediate outcomes were also widely achieved: shared care planning increased across providers; continuity of care was enhanced; disease management improved; and self care among clients improved. Finally, several linkage partnerships were also able to demonstrate improvements in distal outcomes: falls risk decreased; clinical indicators for diabetes management improved; and inappropriate hospitalizations decreased.
Using simple, familiar and relatively low-tech approaches to sharing critical patient information among collaborating organizations, inter-sector linkages were successfully established at all four sites. Seven critical success factors emerged that increase the likelihood that linkages will be implemented, effective and sustained: 1) careful goal selection; 2) meaningful collaboration; 3) appropriate role for clients; 4) realistic interventions; 5) realistic expectations for implementation environment; 6) continuous focus on outcomes; and, 7) stable leadership. A considerable amount of literature speaks to the importance of organizational partnerships to improve community health; however, findings from this evaluation suggest that less complex, more focused, micro-level collaborations can also make a difference, extending the feasibility that organizations will enter into such endeavors.
PMCID: PMC2807089
older people; integrated care models; linkage
17.  Engaging Communities in Education and Research PBRNs, AHEC, and CTSA 
Community engagement has become a prominent element in medical research and is an important component of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards program. Area Health Education Centers engage communities in education and workforce development.
Engaging Communities in Education and Research(ECER) is a successful collaboration among the Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Colorado Clinical Translational Science Institute (CCTSI), and Shared Network of Collaborative Ambulatory Practices and Partners (SNOCAP)—Colorado’s practice-based research collaborative. The ECER Conference is an annual conference of community members, health care providers, clinical preceptors, AHEC board members, university faculty, primary care investigators, program administrators and community organization leaders.
300–440 participants each year representing all regions of Colorado. Several projects from the “new ideas” break out session have been developed and completed. Six-month follow-up provided evidence of numerous new collaborations, campus-community partnerships, and developing research projects. Several new collaborations highlight the long-term nature of building on relationships started at the ECER Conference.
Discussion and Conclusion
Engaging Communities in Education and Research has been a successful collaboration to develop and support campus-community collaborations in Colorado. While seemingly just a simple 3-day conference, we have found that this event has lead to many important partnerships.
PMCID: PMC3375864  PMID: 22686202
Practice-based Research; Continuing Education; Translational Research
18.  Local public health system partnerships. 
Public Health Reports  2005;120(1):76-83.
OBJECTIVES: Interorganizational collaboration aimed at community health improvement is an expectation of local public health systems. This study assessed the extent to which such collaboration occurred within one state (Wisconsin), described the characteristics of existing partnerships, and identified factors associated with partnership effectiveness. METHODS: In Stage 1, local health department (LHD) directors in Wisconsin were surveyed (93% response rate). In Stage 2, LHDs completed self-administered mailed surveys for each partnership identified in Stage 1 (85% response rate). Two-level hierarchical logit regression methods were used to model relationships between partnership and LHD variables and partnership outcomes. Data from 924 partnerships associated with 74 LHDs were included in the analysis. RESULTS: Partnerships most frequently addressed tobacco prevention and control, maternal and child health, emergency planning, community assessment and planning, and immunizations. Partnering was most frequent with other government agencies, hospitals, medical practices or clinics, community-based organizations, and schools. Partnership effectiveness was predicted by having a budget, having more partners contributing financially, having a broader array of organizations involved, and having been in existence for a longer period of time. A government mandate to start the partnership was inversely related to successful outcomes. Characteristics of LHDs did not predict partnership effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: Financial support, having a broader array of partners, and allowing sufficient time for partnerships to succeed contribute to partnership effectiveness. Further study-using objective outcome measures-is needed to examine the effects of organizational and community characteristics on the effectiveness of local public health system partnerships.
PMCID: PMC1497678  PMID: 15736335
19.  Using a Private-Public Partnership to Supplement Healthcare Information Technology in Nursing Education 
Various reports by the World Bank and U.S. business technology executives, academics, economists, researchers, and government policymakers have recommended crafting a new educational model for educating America’s future workforce including nurses in their professional research pursuits. According to the National League for Nursing, nursing research is an integral part of the scientific enterprise of improving the nation’s health. A major aim of this new educational focus is the partnering of private business enterprises and public educational institutions to achieve this outcome, i.e., public-private partnerships. Merck & Co., Inc. will partner/collaborate on a student learning pilot project with New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York Department of Nursing Bachelor of Nursing Program students - all practicing New York State Registered Professional Nurses - who are taking either Nursing Informatics or Leadership in the Management of Client Care courses.
PMCID: PMC3799165  PMID: 24199056
20.  Aboriginal-mainstream partnerships: exploring the challenges and enhancers of a collaborative service arrangement for Aboriginal clients with substance use issues 
Partnerships between different health services are integral to addressing the complex health needs of vulnerable populations. In Australia, partnerships between Aboriginal1 community controlled and mainstream services can extend health care options and improve the cultural safety of services. However, although government funding supports such collaborations, many factors can cause these arrangements to be tenuous, impacting the quality of health care received. Research was undertaken to explore the challenges and enhancers of a government initiated service partnership between an Aboriginal Community Controlled alcohol and drug service and three mainstream alcohol rehabilitation and support services.
Sixteen staff including senior managers (n=5), clinical team leaders (n=5) and counsellors (n=6) from the four services were purposively recruited and interviewed. Interviews were semi-structured and explored staff experience of the partnership including the client intake and referral process, shared client care, inter-service communication and ways of working.
Results & discussion
Communication issues, partner unfamiliarity, ‘mainstreaming’ of Aboriginal funding, divergent views regarding staff competencies, client referral issues, staff turnover and different ways of working emerged as issues, emphasizing the challenges of working with a population with complex issues in a persistent climate of limited resourcing. Factors enhancing the partnership included adding a richness and diversity to treatment possibilities and opportunities to explore different, more culturally appropriate ways of working.
While the literature strongly advises partnerships be suitably mature before commencing service delivery, the reality of funding cycles may require partnerships become operational before relationships are adequately consolidated. Allowing sufficient time and funding for both the operation and relational aspects of a partnership is critical, with support for partners to regularly meet and workshop arrangements. Documentation that makes clear and embeds working arrangements between partners is important to ameliorate many of the issues that can arise. Given the historical undercurrents, flexible approaches are required to focus on strengths that contribute to progress, even if incremental, rather than on weaknesses which can undermine efforts. This research offers important lessons to assist other services collaborating in post-colonial settings to offer treatment pathways for vulnerable populations.
PMCID: PMC3547814  PMID: 23305201
Aboriginal; Mainstream; Vulnerable populations; Partnerships; Health services
21.  Organisational development in general practice: lessons from practice and professional development plans (PPDPs) 
Improving the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice is becoming a key task within all health services. Primary medical care, as organised in the UK is composed of clinicians who work in independent partnerships (general practices) that collaborate with other health care professionals. Although many practices have successfully introduced innovations, there are no organisational development structures in place that support the evolution of primary medical care towards integrated care processes. Providing incentives for attendance at passive educational events and promoting 'teamwork' without first identifying organisational priorities are interventions that have proved to be ineffective at changing clinical processes. A practice and professional development plan feasibility study was evaluated in Wales and provided the experiential basis for a summary of the lessons learnt on how best to guide organisational development systems for primary medical care.
Practice and professional development plans are hybrids produced by the combination of ideas from management (the applied behavioural science of organisational development) and education (self-directed adult learning theories) and, in conceptual terms, address the lack of effectiveness of passive educational strategies by making interventions relevant to identified system wide needs. In the intervention, each practice participated in a series of multidisciplinary workshops (minimum 4) where the process outcome was the production of a practice development plan and a set of personal portfolios, and the final outcome was a realised organisational change.
It was apparent during the project that organisational admission to a process of developmental planning needed to be a stepwise process, where initial interest can lead to a fuller understanding, which subsequently develops into motivation and ownership, sufficient to complete the exercise. The advantages of introducing expert external facilitation were clear: evaluations of internal group processes were possible, strategic issues could be raised and explored and financial probity ensured. These areas are much more difficult to examine when only internal stakeholders are engaged in a planning process.
It is not possible to introduce practice and professional development plans (organisational development and organisational learning projects) in a publicly funded health care system without first addressing existing educational and management structures. Existing systems are based on educational credits for attendance and emerging accountability frameworks (criteria checklists) for clinical governance. Moving to systems that are less summative and more formative, and based on the philosophies of continual quality improvement, require changes to be made in the relevant support systems in order achieve policy proposals.
PMCID: PMC29075  PMID: 11178111
22.  "Harnessing genomics to improve health in Africa" – an executive course to support genomics policy 
Africa in the twenty-first century is faced with a heavy burden of disease, combined with ill-equipped medical systems and underdeveloped technological capacity. A major challenge for the international community is to bring scientific and technological advances like genomics to bear on the health priorities of poorer countries. The New Partnership for Africa's Development has identified science and technology as a key platform for Africa's renewal. Recognizing the timeliness of this issue, the African Centre for Technology Studies and the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics co-organized a course on Genomics and Public Health Policy in Nairobi, Kenya, the first of a series of similar courses to take place in the developing world. This article presents the findings and recommendations that emerged from this process, recommendations which suggest that a regional approach to developing sound science and technology policies is the key to harnessing genome-related biotechnology to improve health and contribute to human development in Africa.
The objectives of the course were to familiarize participants with the current status and implications of genomics for health in Africa; to provide frameworks for analyzing and debating the policy and ethical questions; and to begin developing a network across different sectors by sharing perspectives and building relationships. To achieve these goals the course brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from academic research centres, the media, non-governmental, voluntary and legal organizations to stimulate multi-sectoral debate around issues of policy. Topics included scientific advances in genomics innovation systems and business models, international regulatory frameworks, as well as ethical and legal issues.
Seven main recommendations emerged: establish a network for sustained dialogue among participants; identify champions among politicians; use the New Plan for African Development (NEPAD) as entry point onto political agenda; commission an African capacity survey in genomics-related R&D to determine areas of strength; undertake a detailed study of R&D models with demonstrated success in the developing world, i.e. China, India, Cuba, Brazil; establish seven regional research centres of excellence; and, create sustainable financing mechanisms. A concrete outcome of this intensive five-day course was the establishment of the African Genome Policy Forum, a multi-stakeholder forum to foster further discussion on policy.
With African leaders engaged in the New Partnership for Africa's Development, science and technology is well poised to play a valuable role in Africa's renewal, by contributing to economic development and to improved health. Africa's first course on Genomics and Public Health Policy aspired to contribute to the effort to bring this issue to the forefront of the policy debate, focusing on genomics through the lens of public health. The process that has led to this course has served as a model for three subsequent courses (in India, Venezuela and Oman), and the establishment of similar regional networks on genomics and policy, which could form the basis for inter-regional dialogue in the future.
PMCID: PMC548518  PMID: 15667651
23.  An Academic-Government-Faith Partnership to Build Disaster Mental Health Preparedness and Community Resilience 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 4):96-106.
Faculty and affiliates of the Johns Hopkins Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center partnered with local health departments and faith-based organizations to develop a dual-intervention model of capacity-building for public mental health preparedness and community resilience. Project objectives included (1) determining the feasibility of the tri-partite collaborative concept; (2) designing, delivering, and evaluating psychological first aid (PFA) training and guided preparedness planning (GPP); and (3) documenting preliminary evidence of the sustainability and impact of the model.
We evaluated intervention effectiveness by analyzing pre- and post-training changes in participant responses on knowledge-acquisition tests administered to three urban and four rural community cohorts. Changes in percent of correct items and mean total correct items were evaluated. Criteria for model sustainability and impact were, respectively, observations of nonacademic partners engaging in efforts to advance post-project preparedness alliances, and project-attributable changes in preparedness-related practices of local or state governments.
The majority (11 of 14) test items addressing technical or practical PFA content showed significant improvement; we observed comparable testing results for GPP training. Government and faith partners developed ideas and tools for sustaining preparedness activities, and numerous project-driven changes in local and state government policies were documented.
Results suggest that the model could be an effective approach to promoting public health preparedness and community resilience.
PMCID: PMC4187312  PMID: 25355980
24.  Developing a Community-Academic Partnership to Improve Recognition and Treatment of Depression in Underserved African American and White Elders 
Reducing mental health disparities among underserved populations, particularly African American elders, is an important public health priority. The authors describe the process and challenges of developing a community/academic research partnership to address these disparities.
The authors are using a Community-Based Participatory Research approach to gain access to underserved populations in need of depression treatment. The authors identify six stages: 1) Collaborating to Secure Funding; 2) Building a Communications Platform and Research Infrastructure; 3) Fostering Enduring Relationships; 4) Assessing Needs/Educating about Research Process; 5) Initiating Specific Collaborative Projects (meeting mutual needs/interests); and 6) Maintaining a Sustainable and Productive Partnership. Data from a needs assessment developed collaboratively by researchers and community agencies facilitated agreement on mutual research goals, while strengthening the partnership.
A community/academic-based partnership with a solid research infrastructure has been established and maintained for 3 years. Using the results of a needs assessment, the working partnership prioritized and launched several projects. Through interviews and questionnaires, community partners identified best practices for researchers working in the community. Future research and interventional projects have been developed, including plans for sustainability that will eventually shift more responsibility from the academic institution to the community agencies.
To reach underserved populations by developing and implementing models of more effective mental health treatment, it is vital to engage community agencies offering services to this population. A successful partnership requires “cultural humility,” collaborative efforts, and the development of flexible protocols to accommodate diverse communities.
PMCID: PMC3044484  PMID: 20104053
Community partnerships; depression; community-based participatory research
25.  Shared language:Towards more effective communication 
The ability to communicate to others and express ourselves is a basic human need. As we develop our understanding of the world, based on our upbringing, education and so on, our perspective and the way we communicate can differ from those around us. Engaging and interacting with others is a critical part of healthy living. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are understood in the way they intended.
Shared language refers to people developing understanding amongst themselves based on language (e.g. spoken, text) to help them communicate more effectively. The key to understanding language is to first notice and be mindful of your language. Developing a shared language is an ongoing process that requires intention and time, which results in better understanding.
Shared language is critical to collaboration, and collaboration is critical to business and education. With whom and how many people do you connect? Your 'shared language' makes a difference in the world. So, how do we successfully do this? This paper shares several strategies.
Your sphere of influence will carry forward what and how you are communicating. Developing and nurturing a shared language is an essential element to enhance communication and collaboration whether it is simply between partners or across the larger community of business and customers. Constant awareness and education is required to maintain the shared language. We are living in an increasingly smaller global community. Business is built on relationships. If you invest in developing shared language, your relationships and your business will thrive.
PMCID: PMC3575067  PMID: 23422948
Language; communication; creativity; design coaching; empathy

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