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1.  Acceptability of participatory social network analysis for problem-solving in Australian Aboriginal health service partnerships 
While participatory social network analysis can help health service partnerships to solve problems, little is known about its acceptability in cross-cultural settings. We conducted two case studies of chronic illness service partnerships in 2007 and 2008 to determine whether participatory research incorporating social network analysis is acceptable for problem-solving in Australian Aboriginal health service delivery.
Local research groups comprising 13–19 partnership staff, policy officers and community members were established at each of two sites to guide the research and to reflect and act on the findings. Network and work practice surveys were conducted with 42 staff, and the results were fed back to the research groups. At the end of the project, 19 informants at the two sites were interviewed, and the researchers conducted critical reflection. The effectiveness and acceptability of the participatory social network method were determined quantitatively and qualitatively.
Participants in both local research groups considered that the network survey had accurately described the links between workers related to the exchange of clinical and cultural information, team care relationships, involvement in service management and planning and involvement in policy development. This revealed the function of the teams and the roles of workers in each partnership. Aboriginal workers had a high number of direct links in the exchange of cultural information, illustrating their role as the cultural resource, whereas they had fewer direct links with other network members on clinical information exchange and team care. The problem of their current and future roles was discussed inside and outside the local research groups. According to the interview informants the participatory network analysis had opened the way for problem-solving by “putting issues on the table”. While there were confronting and ethically challenging aspects, these informants considered that with flexibility of data collection to account for the preferences of Aboriginal members, then the method was appropriate in cross-cultural contexts for the difficult discussions that are needed to improve partnerships.
Critical reflection showed that the preconditions for difficult discussions are, first, that partners have the capacity to engage in such discussions, second, that partners assess whether the effort required for these discussions is balanced by the benefits they gain from the partnership, and, third, that “boundary spanning” staff can facilitate commitment to partnership goals.
PMCID: PMC3472193  PMID: 22682504
2.  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
3.  Partnership Selection and Formation: A Case Study of Developing Adolescent Health Community-Researcher Partnerships in 15 U.S. Communities 
This study describes the partner selection process in 15 U.S. communities developing community-researcher partnerships for the Connect to Protect® (C2P): Partnerships for Youth Prevention Interventions, an initiative of the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions.
Each site generated an epidemiological profile of urban youth in their community, selected a focus population and geographic area of youth at risk for HIV, conducted a series of successive structured interviews, and engaged in a process of relationship-building efforts culminating in a collaborative network of community agencies.
Sites chose as their primary target population young women who have sex with men (n=8 sites), young men who have sex with men (n=6), and intravenous drug users (n=1). Of 1,162 agencies initially interviewed, 281 of 335 approached (84%) agreed to join the partnership (average 19/site). A diverse array of community agencies were represented in the final collaborative network; specific characteristics included: 93% served the sites' target population, 54% were predominantly youth-oriented, 59% were located in the geographical area of focus, and 39% reported provision of HIV/STI prevention services. Relationship-building activities, development of collaborative relationships, and lessons learned, including barriers and facilitators to partnership, are also described.
Study findings address a major gap in the community partner research literature. Health researchers and policy makers need an effective partner selection framework whereby community-researcher partnerships can develop a solid foundation to address public health concerns.
PMCID: PMC1950847  PMID: 17531754
Collaboration; Coalition; Community Involvement; Partnership Selection; Community Researcher Partnership; Neighborhood Collaboratives
4.  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
5.  Energizing Community Health Improvement: The Promise of Microgrants 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2005;2(Spec No):A16.
The Healthy Carolinians community microgrants project provided microgrants to community-based organizations (CBOs) across North Carolina. These grants were made to serve as a catalyst to engage the CBOs in health promotion activities that addressed Healthy People 2010 objectives. The purpose of this initiative was to increase the awareness of Healthy People 2010 objectives, mobilize resources, and create new partners in community health improvement.
In 1993, Healthy Carolinians, a statewide network of public–private partnerships, was established at the county level to address North Carolina's health objectives that aligned with national Healthy People 2010 objectives. This network of Healthy Carolinians partnerships provided the vehicle for distributing the microgrants.
Funding was distributed to 32 Healthy Carolinians partnerships that, in turn, awarded 199 microgrants ($2010 each) to CBOs to address state and national health objectives. Each CBO selected its own objectives based on Healthy People 2010 objectives and designed its own interventions. Surveys of the CBO project managers and final reports were used for evaluation. A survey of the Healthy Carolinians partnership coordinators provided additional insight.
Of the 199 surveys mailed to CBOs, 153 (77%) responded. Nearly half (43.7%) of the microgrants were used to focus on three major health risk factors: 27.1% on physical activity and fitness, 13.1% on nutrition and overweight, and 3.5% on tobacco use. At the end of the project, 96.1% of the respondents reported that they were familiar with the Healthy People 2010 objectives. Final reports showed that an estimated 52,739 hours of CBO staff and volunteer time were contributed to microgrant programs. All Healthy Carolinians partnership coordinators responded to a survey; 100% stated that they had new access to priority populations within their community.
The Healthy Carolinians microgrant project demonstrated a cost-effective, alternative approach to funding community-based health promotion and injury control activities. This model was decentralized, so it empowered communities and CBOs to be responsible for community health improvement. Public health professionals with limited funds should consider this alternative approach, which mobilized existing community organizations and effectively addressed national and state health objectives.
PMCID: PMC1459464  PMID: 16263049
6.  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
7.  Developing health systems research capacities through north-south partnership: An evaluation of collaboration with South Africa and Thailand 
Over the past ten years, calls to strengthen health systems research capacities in low and middle income countries have increased. One mechanism for capacity development is the partnering of northern and southern institutions. However, detailed case-studies of north-south partnerships, at least in the domain of health systems research, remain limited.
This study aims to evaluate the partnerships developed between the Health Economics and Financing Programme of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and three research partners in South Africa and Thailand to strengthen health economics-related research capacity.
Data from programme documents were collected over five years to measure quantitative indicators of capacity development. Qualitative data were obtained from 25 in-depth interviews with programme staff from South Africa, Thailand and London.
Results and Discussion
Five years of formal partnership resulted in substantial strengthening of individual research skills and moderate instituonalised strengthening in southern partner institutions. Activities included joint proposals, research and articles, staff exchange and post-graduate training. In Thailand, individual capacities were built through post-graduate training and the partner institution developed this as part of a package aimed at retaining young researchers at the institution. In South Africa, local post-graduate teaching programs were strengthened, regular staff visits/exchanges initiated and maintained and funding secured for several large-scale, multi-partner projects. These activities could not have been achieved without good personal relationships between members of the partner institutions, built on trust developed over twenty years. In South Africa, a critical factor was the joint appointment of a London staff member on long-term secondment to one of the partner institutions.
As partnerships mature the needs of partners change and new challenges emerge. Partners' differing research priorities (national v international; policy-led v academic-led) need to be balanced and equitable funding mechanisms developed recognising the needs and constraints faced by both southern and northern partners. Institutionalising partnerships (through long-term development of trust, engagement of a broad range of staff in joint activities and joint appointment of staff), and developing responsive mechanisms for governing these partnerships (through regular joint negotiation of research priorities and funding issues), can address these challenges in mutually acceptable ways. Indeed, by late 2005 the partnership under scrutiny in this paper had evolved into a wider consortium involving additional partners, more explicit mechanisms for managing institutional relationships and some core funding for partners. Most importantly, this study has shown that it is possible for long-term north-south partnership commitments to yield fruit and to strengthen the capacities of public health research and training institutions in less developed countries.
PMCID: PMC2559830  PMID: 18673541
8.  The Role of Viral Introductions in Sustaining Community-Based HIV Epidemics in Rural Uganda: Evidence from Spatial Clustering, Phylogenetics, and Egocentric Transmission Models 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001610.
Using different approaches to investigate HIV transmission patterns, Justin Lessler and colleagues find that extra-community HIV introductions are frequent and likely play a role in sustaining the epidemic in the Rakai community.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
It is often assumed that local sexual networks play a dominant role in HIV spread in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which continued HIV transmission in rural communities—home to two-thirds of the African population—is driven by intra-community sexual networks versus viral introductions from outside of communities.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed the spatial dynamics of HIV transmission in rural Rakai District, Uganda, using data from a cohort of 14,594 individuals within 46 communities. We applied spatial clustering statistics, viral phylogenetics, and probabilistic transmission models to quantify the relative contribution of viral introductions into communities versus community- and household-based transmission to HIV incidence. Individuals living in households with HIV-incident (n = 189) or HIV-prevalent (n = 1,597) persons were 3.2 (95% CI: 2.7–3.7) times more likely to be HIV infected themselves compared to the population in general, but spatial clustering outside of households was relatively weak and was confined to distances <500 m. Phylogenetic analyses of gag and env genes suggest that chains of transmission frequently cross community boundaries. A total of 95 phylogenetic clusters were identified, of which 44% (42/95) were two individuals sharing a household. Among the remaining clusters, 72% (38/53) crossed community boundaries. Using the locations of self-reported sexual partners, we estimate that 39% (95% CI: 34%–42%) of new viral transmissions occur within stable household partnerships, and that among those infected by extra-household sexual partners, 62% (95% CI: 55%–70%) are infected by sexual partners from outside their community. These results rely on the representativeness of the sample and the quality of self-reported partnership data and may not reflect HIV transmission patterns outside of Rakai.
Our findings suggest that HIV introductions into communities are common and account for a significant proportion of new HIV infections acquired outside of households in rural Uganda, though the extent to which this is true elsewhere in Africa remains unknown. Our results also suggest that HIV prevention efforts should be implemented at spatial scales broader than the community and should target key populations likely responsible for introductions into communities.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
About 35 million people (25 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and about 2.3 million people become newly infected every year. HIV destroys immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. HIV infection can be controlled by taking antiretroviral drugs (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) daily throughout life. Although originally available only to people living in wealthy countries, recent political efforts mean that 9.7 million people in low- and middle-income countries now have access to ART. However, ART does not cure HIV infection, so prevention of viral transmission remains extremely important. Because HIV is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of infection by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by using condoms. Male circumcision also reduces HIV transmission. In addition to reducing illness and death among HIV-positive people, ART also reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Effective HIV control requires an understanding of how HIV spreads through sexual networks. These networks include sexual partnerships between individuals in households, between community members in different households, and between individuals from different communities. Local sexual networks (household and intra-community sexual partnerships) are sometimes assumed to be the dominant driving force in HIV spread in sub-Saharan Africa, but are viral introductions from sexual partnerships with individuals outside the community also important? This question needs answering because the effectiveness of interventions such as ART as prevention partly depends on how many new infections in an intervention area are attributable to infection from partners residing in that area and how many are attributable to infection from partners living elsewhere. Here, the researchers use three analytical methods—spatial clustering statistics, viral phylogenetics, and egocentric transmission modeling—to ask whether HIV transmission in rural Uganda is driven predominantly by intra-community sexual networks. Spatial clustering analysis uses the geographical coordinates of households to measure the tendency of HIV-infected people to cluster spatially at scales consistent with community transmission. Viral phylogenetic analysis examines the genetic relatedness of viruses; if transmission is through local networks, viruses in newly infected individuals should more closely resemble viruses in other community members than those in people outside the community. Egocentric transmission modelling uses information on the locations of recent sexual partners to estimate the proportions of new transmissions from household, intra-community, and extra-community partners.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers applied their three analytical methods to data collected from 14,594 individuals living in 46 communities (governmental administrative units) in Rakai District, Uganda. Spatial clustering analysis indicated that individuals who lived in households with individuals with incident HIV (newly diagnosed) or prevalent HIV (previously diagnosed) were 3.2 times more likely than the general population to be HIV-positive themselves. Spatial clustering outside households was relatively weak, however, and was confined to distances of less than half a kilometer. Viral phylogenetic analysis indicated that 44% of phylogenetic clusters (viruses with related genetic sequences found in more than one individual) were within households, but that 40% of clusters crossed community borders. Finally, analysis of the locations of self-reported sexual partners indicated that 39% of new viral transmissions occurred within stable household partnerships, but that among people newly infected by extra-household partners, nearly two-thirds were infected by partners from outside their community.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of all three analyses suggest that HIV introductions into communities are frequent and are likely to play an important role in sustaining HIV transmission in the Rakai District. Specifically, within this rural HIV-endemic region (a region where HIV infection is always present), viral introductions combined with intra-household transmission account for the majority of new infections, although community-based sexual networks also play a critical role in HIV transmission. These findings may not be generalizable to the broader Ugandan population or to other regions of Africa, and their accuracy is likely to be limited by the use of self-reported sexual partner data. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that the dynamics of HIV transmission in rural Uganda (and probably elsewhere) are complex. Consequently, to halt the spread of HIV, prevention efforts will need to be implemented at spatial scales broader than individual communities, and key populations that are likely to introduce HIV into communities will need to be targeted.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in Uganda and on HIV prevention strategies (in English and Spanish)
The UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2013 provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (University of California, San Francisco) has a fact sheet about sexual networks and HIV prevention
Wikipedia provides information on spatial clustering analysis (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
A PLOS Computational Biology Topic Page (a review article that is a published copy of record of a dynamic version of the article as found in Wikipedia) about viral phylodynamics is available
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, NAM/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3942316  PMID: 24595023
9.  Business and public health collaboration for emergency preparedness in Georgia: a case study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:285.
Governments may be overwhelmed by a large-scale public health emergency, such as a massive bioterrorist attack or natural disaster, requiring collaboration with businesses and other community partners to respond effectively. In Georgia, public health officials and members of the Business Executives for National Security have successfully collaborated to develop and test procedures for dispensing medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. Lessons learned from this collaboration should be useful to other public health and business leaders interested in developing similar partnerships.
The authors conducted a case study based on interviews with 26 government, business, and academic participants in this collaboration.
The partnership is based on shared objectives to protect public health and assure community cohesion in the wake of a large-scale disaster, on the recognition that acting alone neither public health agencies nor businesses are likely to manage such a response successfully, and on the realization that business and community continuity are intertwined. The partnership has required participants to acknowledge and address multiple challenges, including differences in business and government cultures and operational constraints, such as concerns about the confidentiality of shared information, liability, and the limits of volunteerism. The partnership has been facilitated by a business model based on defining shared objectives, identifying mutual needs and vulnerabilities, developing carefully-defined projects, and evaluating proposed project methods through exercise testing. Through collaborative engagement in progressively more complex projects, increasing trust and understanding have enabled the partners to make significant progress in addressing these challenges.
As a result of this partnership, essential relationships have been established, substantial private resources and capabilities have been engaged in government preparedness programs, and a model for collaborative, emergency mass dispensing of pharmaceuticals has been developed, tested, and slated for expansion. The lessons learned from this collaboration in Georgia should be considered by other government and business leaders seeking to develop similar partnerships.
PMCID: PMC1676007  PMID: 17116256
10.  One Health and EcoHealth in Ontario: a qualitative study exploring how holistic and integrative approaches are shaping public health practice in Ontario 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:358.
There is a growing recognition that many public health issues are complex and can be best understood by examining the relationship between human health and the health of the ecosystems in which people live. Two approaches, One Health and Ecosystem Approaches to Health (EcoHealth), can help us to better understand these intricate and complex connections, and appear to hold great promise for tackling many modern public health dilemmas. Although both One Health and EcoHealth have garnered recognition from numerous health bodies in Canada and abroad, there is still a need to better understand how these approaches are shaping the practice of public health in Ontario.
The purpose of this study was to characterize how public health actors in Ontario are influenced by the holistic principles which underlie One Health and EcoHealth, and to identify important lessons from their experiences.
Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants from the public health sphere in Ontario. Participants encompassed diverse perspectives including infectious disease, food systems, urban agriculture, and environmental health. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using qualitative content analysis to identify major themes and patterns.
Four major themes emerged from the interviews: the importance of connecting human health with the environment; the role of governance in promoting these ideas; the value of partnerships and collaborations in public health practice; and the challenge of operationalizing holistic approaches to public health. Overall study participants were found to be heavily influenced by concepts couched in EcoHealth and One Health literature, despite a lack of familiarity with these fields.
Although One Health and EcoHealth are lesser known approaches in the public health sphere, their holistic and systems-based principles were found to influence the thoughts, values and experiences of public health actors interviewed in this study. This study also highlights the critical role of governance and partnerships in facilitating a holistic approach to health. Further research on governance and partnership models, as well as systems-based organizational working practices, is needed to close the gap between One Health and EcoHealth theory and public health practice.
PMCID: PMC3676168  PMID: 22591618
Public health practice; One Health; EcoHealth; Governance; Sustainability; Cross-sectoral partnerships
11.  Determinants of Sexual Network Structure and Their Impact on Cumulative Network Measures 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(4):e1002470.
There are four major quantities that are measured in sexual behavior surveys that are thought to be especially relevant for the performance of sexual network models in terms of disease transmission. These are (i) the cumulative distribution of lifetime number of partners, (ii) the distribution of partnership durations, (iii) the distribution of gap lengths between partnerships, and (iv) the number of recent partners. Fitting a network model to these quantities as measured in sexual behavior surveys is expected to result in a good description of Chlamydia trachomatis transmission in terms of the heterogeneity of the distribution of infection in the population. Here we present a simulation model of a sexual contact network, in which we explored the role of behavioral heterogeneity of simulated individuals on the ability of the model to reproduce population-level sexual survey data from the Netherlands and UK. We find that a high level of heterogeneity in the ability of individuals to acquire and maintain (additional) partners strongly facilitates the ability of the model to accurately simulate the powerlaw-like distribution of the lifetime number of partners, and the age at which these partnerships were accumulated, as surveyed in actual sexual contact networks. Other sexual network features, such as the gap length between partnerships and the partnership duration, could–at the current level of detail of sexual survey data against which they were compared–be accurately modeled by a constant value (for transitional concurrency) and by exponential distributions (for partnership duration). Furthermore, we observe that epidemiological measures on disease prevalence in survey data can be used as a powerful tool for building accurate sexual contact networks, as these measures provide information on the level of mixing between individuals of different levels of sexual activity in the population, a parameter that is hard to acquire through surveying individuals.
Author Summary
Although many diseases spread so easily between humans that someone could be infected by any of his or her daily social contacts, such is not the case for sexually transmitted diseases. Most of us have a very limited number of concurrently ongoing sexual partnerships, and thus the contact network over which sexually transmitted diseases spread tends to be very sparsely connected. The exact structure of these sexual networks plays an important role in how easy and fast sexually transmitted diseases spread through a population, and how effective various health care interventions will be. In this paper we use a simulation model to understand how the collective sexual behaviour of individuals relates to the summary measures of network structure (such as “lifetime number of partners”, and “duration of previous partnership”) that are typically used to build models of disease transmission over sexual networks. Based on our understanding of this relationship, we simulated sexual networks which have summary measures of network structure that are very similar to that of a real sexual network. Using these networks in disease transmission models will increase our ability to predict the effectiveness of health care interventions.
PMCID: PMC3343090  PMID: 22570594
12.  Improving the network management of integrated primary mental healthcare for older people in a rural Australian region: protocol for a mixed methods case study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e006304.
An integrated approach to the mental healthcare of older people is advocated across health, aged care and social care sectors. It is not clear, however, how the management of integrated servicing should occur, although interorganisational relations theory suggests a reflective network approach using evaluation feedback. This research will test a network management approach to help regional primary healthcare organisations improve mental health service integration.
Methods and analysis
This mixed methods case study in rural South Australia will test facilitated reflection within a network of health and social care services to determine if this leads to improved integration. Engagement of services will occur through a governance group and a series of three 1-day service stakeholder workshops. Facilitated reflection and evaluation feedback will use information from a review of health sector and local operational policies, a network survey about current service links, gaps and enablers and interviews with older people and their carers about their help seeking journeys. Quantitative and qualitative analysis will describe the policy enablers and explore the current and ideal links between services. The facilitated reflection will be developed to maximise engagement of senior management in the governance group and the service staff at the operational level in the workshops. Benefit will be assessed through indicators of improved service coordination, collective ownership of service problems, strengthened partnerships, agreed local protocols and the use of feedback for accountability.
Ethics, benefits and dissemination
Ethics approval will deal with the sensitivities of organisational network research where data anonymity is not preserved. The benefit will be the tested utility of a facilitated reflective process for a network of health and social care services to manage linked primary mental healthcare for older people in a rural region. Dissemination will make use of the sectoral networks of the governance group.
PMCID: PMC4166139  PMID: 25227632
13.  Recruitment Strategies and Costs Associated With Community-Based Research in a Mexican-Origin Population 
The Gerontologist  2011;51(Suppl 1):S94-S105.
Purpose: We describe the recruitment strategies and personnel and materials costs associated with two community-based research studies in a Mexican-origin population. We also highlight the role that academic–community partnerships played in the outreach and recruitment process for our studies. We reviewed study documents using case study methodology to categorize recruitment methods, examine community partnerships, and calculate study costs. Results: We employed several recruitment methods to identify and solicit 154 female caregivers for participation in qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys. Recruitment approaches included using flyers and word of mouth, attending health fairs, and partnering with nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) to sponsor targeted recruitment events. Face-to-face contact with community residents and partnerships with CBOs were most effective in enrolling caregivers into the studies. Almost 70% of participants attended a recruitment event sponsored or supported by CBOs. The least effective recruitment strategy was the use of flyers, which resulted in only 7 completed interviews or questionnaires. Time and costs related to carrying out the research varied by study, where personal interviews cost more on a per-participant basis ($1,081) than the questionnaires ($298). However, almost the same amount of time was spent in the community for both studies. Implications: Partnerships with CBOs were critical for reaching the target enrollment for our studies. The relationship between the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) Resource Center for Minority Aging Research/Center for Health Improvement for Minority Elderly and the Department of Aging provided the infrastructure for maintaining connections with academic–community partnerships. Nevertheless, building partnerships required time, effort, and resources for both researchers and local organizations.
PMCID: PMC3092970  PMID: 21565824
Mexican Americans; Informal caregiving; Recruitment methods; Academic–community partnerships; Costs
14.  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
15.  Characteristics of Successful Community Partnerships to Promote Physical Activity Among Young People, North Carolina, 2010–2012 
Success of community-based projects has been thought to hinge on the strength of partnerships between those involved in design and implementation. However, characteristics of successful partnerships have not been fully described, particularly in the context of community-based physical activity promotion. We sought to identify characteristics of successful partnerships from the perspective of project coordinators involved in a mini-grant program to promote physical activity among young people.
Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with county coordinators (n = 19) of 20 North Carolina’s “Eat Smart, Move More” Community Grants projects funded during 2010 through 2012. Emergent themes were coded; then, overarching themes in the coded data were identified and grouped with similar codes under thematic headings. On the basis of project coordinators’ responses, each partnership was classified as strong, moderate, or weak.
Three overarching themes characterized partnership relationships: continuity (history with partner and willingness to engage in a future partnership), community connectedness, and capacity (interest, enthusiasm, engagement, communication, and clarity of roles and responsibilities). Strong partnerships were those in which project coordinators indicated a positive working history with partners, experienced a high level of engagement from partners, had clearly defined roles and responsibilities of partners, and expressed a clear interest in working with their partners in the future.
In community partnerships aimed at increasing physical activity among young people, the perspectives of project coordinators are vital to identifying the characteristics of strong, moderate, and weak partnerships. These perspectives will be useful for future community program development and will influence potential health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3864706  PMID: 24331281
16.  Evaluating a Social Network Analytic Tool to Support Outbreak Management and Contact Tracing in an Outbreak of Pertussis 
To determine the feasibility and value of a social network analysis tool to support pertussis outbreak management and contact tracing in the state of Utah.
Pertussis (i.e., whooping cough) is on the rise in the US. To implement effective prevention and treatment strategies, it is critical to conduct timely contact tracing and evaluate people who may have come into contact with an infected person. We describe a collaborative effort between epidemiologists and public health informaticists at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to determine the feasibility and value of a network-analytic approach to pertussis outbreak management and contact tracing.
The partnership: In early 2012, epidemiologists from UDOH’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program and UDOH’s public health informaticists formed a partnership to determine the feasibility and value of the Organizational Risk Analyzer (ORA) in pertussis outbreak management and contact tracing (1). Both entities have a longstanding partnership. A characteristic that has made the collaboration particularly strong and mutually beneficial is that both partners have expertise in disease surveillance and outbreak management. In addition, the informaticists have expertise in devising systems that help frontline healthcare providers.
The Organizational Risk Analyzer (ORA): ORA is a computational tool that extends network analysis by using a meta-matrix model. A meta-matrix is defined as a network of connecting entities. The tool uses one or more matrices in an organization’s meta-matrix as input. From this input the tool calculates measures that describe the relationships and ties among the entities. ORA contains over 50 network and node level measures which are categorized by the type of risk they detect (1).
Procedures: Following approval from UDOH’s Institutional Review Board, we analyzed records from 629 deidentified pertussis patients from the UT-NEDSS database from January 2011 to December 2011. The test data included demographics and epidemiological information. We used Excel to create .csv data files, uploaded the data into ORA, and displayed the data in meta-matrices consisting of nodes (cases/contacts) and edges (relationships). We used ORA’s visualizer to check for data-entry errors before performing the network analysis.
Data Analysis: ORA’s centrality measures (degree, closeness, betweenness, hub, and eigenvector) were used to identify geographic locations with high infection rates and the patients who were central to sustaining the outbreak. Next, we applied a concor algorithm to find groups in the meta-network that might be hard to spot visually. Visualizations were used to supplement the metrics.
The ORA analysis identified 5 individuals who were central to perpetuating the outbreak in that their centrality measures were higher than other patients in the network. The index patient (Fig 1) was traced back to Utah County and was linked to 6 direct contacts in the same county and several indirect ties in adjacent counties. The individual was highly connected to others within the network (hub centrality = 1.41 and eigenvector centrality = 1.00). Salt Lake County had the highest number of cases, followed by Utah County and Weber County. The concor analysis revealed hidden networks, including a cluster of patients grouped by age group and case status (Fig 2).
The ORA was found to be a valuable tool for supporting pertussis outbreak management and contact tracing. Although network analysis is relatively new to public health, it can increase public health’s understanding of how patterns of social relationships can aid or inhibit the spread of communicable diseases and provide the information needed to target intervention efforts effectively.
PMCID: PMC3692920
Surveillance; Informatics; Social Network Analysis
17.  Research-policy partnerships - experiences of the Mental Health and Poverty Project in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia 
Partnerships are increasingly common in conducting research. However, there is little published evidence about processes in research-policy partnerships in different contexts. This paper contributes to filling this gap by analysing experiences of research-policy partnerships between Ministries of Health and research organisations for the implementation of the Mental Health and Poverty Project in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
A conceptual framework for understanding and assessing research-policy partnerships was developed and guided this study. The data collection methods for this qualitative study included semi-structured interviews with Ministry of Health Partners (MOHPs) and Research Partners (RPs) in each country.
The term partnership was perceived by the partners as a collaboration involving mutually-agreed goals and objectives. The principles of trust, openness, equality and mutual respect were identified as constituting the core of partnerships. The MOHPs and RPs had clearly defined roles, with the MOHPs largely providing political support and RPs leading the research agenda. Different influences affected partnerships. At the individual level, personal relationships and ability to compromise within partnerships were seen as important. At the organisational level, the main influences included the degree of formalisation of roles and responsibilities and the internal structures and procedures affecting decision-making. At the contextual level, political environment and the degree of health system decentralisation affected partnerships.
Several lessons can be learned from these experiences. Taking account of influences on the partnership at individual, organisation and contextual/system levels can increase its effectiveness. A common understanding of mutually-agreed goals and objectives of the partnership is essential. It is important to give attention to the processes of initiating and maintaining partnerships, based on clear roles, responsibilities and commitment of parties at different levels. Although partnerships are often established for a specific purpose, such as carrying out a particular project, the effects of partnership go beyond a particular initiative.
PMCID: PMC3542094  PMID: 22978604
Partnership; Mental health; Africa; Research-policy; Ministry of health
18.  Estimating the Global Clinical Burden of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in 2007 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(6):e1000290.
Simon Hay and colleagues derive contemporary estimates of the global clinical burden of Plasmodium falciparum malaria (the deadliest form of malaria) using cartography-based techniques.
The epidemiology of malaria makes surveillance-based methods of estimating its disease burden problematic. Cartographic approaches have provided alternative malaria burden estimates, but there remains widespread misunderstanding about their derivation and fidelity. The aims of this study are to present a new cartographic technique and its application for deriving global clinical burden estimates of Plasmodium falciparum malaria for 2007, and to compare these estimates and their likely precision with those derived under existing surveillance-based approaches.
Methods and Findings
In seven of the 87 countries endemic for P. falciparum malaria, the health reporting infrastructure was deemed sufficiently rigorous for case reports to be used verbatim. In the remaining countries, the mapped extent of unstable and stable P. falciparum malaria transmission was first determined. Estimates of the plausible incidence range of clinical cases were then calculated within the spatial limits of unstable transmission. A modelled relationship between clinical incidence and prevalence was used, together with new maps of P. falciparum malaria endemicity, to estimate incidence in areas of stable transmission, and geostatistical joint simulation was used to quantify uncertainty in these estimates at national, regional, and global scales.
Combining these estimates for all areas of transmission risk resulted in 451 million (95% credible interval 349–552 million) clinical cases of P. falciparum malaria in 2007. Almost all of this burden of morbidity occurred in areas of stable transmission. More than half of all estimated P. falciparum clinical cases and associated uncertainty occurred in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Myanmar (Burma), where 1.405 billion people are at risk.
Recent surveillance-based methods of burden estimation were then reviewed and discrepancies in national estimates explored. When these cartographically derived national estimates were ranked according to their relative uncertainty and replaced by surveillance-based estimates in the least certain half, 98% of the global clinical burden continued to be estimated by cartographic techniques.
Conclusions and Significance
Cartographic approaches to burden estimation provide a globally consistent measure of malaria morbidity of known fidelity, and they represent the only plausible method in those malaria-endemic countries with nonfunctional national surveillance. Unacceptable uncertainty in the clinical burden of malaria in only four countries confounds our ability to evaluate needs and monitor progress toward international targets for malaria control at the global scale. National prevalence surveys in each nation would reduce this uncertainty profoundly. Opportunities for further reducing uncertainty in clinical burden estimates by hybridizing alternative burden estimation procedures are also evaluated.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Malaria is a major global public-health problem. Nearly half the world's population is at risk of malaria, and Plasmodium falciparum malaria—the deadliest form of the disease—causes about one million deaths each year. Malaria is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. These insects inject a parasitic form known as sporozoites into people, where they replicate briefly inside liver cells. The liver cells then release merozoites (another parasitic form), which invade red blood cells. Here, the merozoites replicate rapidly before bursting out and infecting more red blood cells. This increase in the parasitic burden causes malaria's characteristic symptoms—debilitating and recurring fevers and chills. Infected red blood cells also release gametocytes, which infect mosquitoes when they take a blood meal. In the mosquito, the gametocytes multiply and develop into sporozoites, thus completing the parasite's life cycle. Malaria can be prevented by controlling the mosquitoes that spread the parasite and by avoiding mosquito bites. Effective treatment with antimalarial drugs also helps to reduce malaria transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other international agencies launched Roll Back Malaria, a global partnership that aims to provide a coordinated, global approach to fighting malaria. For this or any other malaria control initiative to be effective, however, an accurate picture of the global clinical burden of malaria (how many people become ill because of malaria and where they live) is needed so that resources can be concentrated where they will have the most impact. Estimates of the global burden of many infectious diseases are obtained using data collected by national surveillance systems. Unfortunately, this approach does not work very well for malaria because in places where malaria is endemic (always present), diagnosis is often inaccurate and national reporting is incomplete. In this study, therefore, the researchers use an alternative, “cartographic” method for estimating the global clinical burden of P. falciparum malaria.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified seven P. falciparum malaria-endemic countries that had sufficiently reliable health information systems to determine the national clinical malaria burden in 2007 directly. They divided the other 80 malaria endemic countries into countries with a low risk of transmission (unstable transmission) and countries with a moderate or high risk of transmission (stable transmission). In countries with unstable transmission, the researchers assumed a uniform annual clinical incidence rate of 0.1 cases per 1,000 people and multiplied this by population sizes to get disease burden estimates. In countries with stable transmission, they used a modeled relationship between clinical incidence (number of new cases in a population per year) and prevalence (the proportion of a population infected with malaria parasites) and a global malaria endemicity map (a map that indicates the risk of malaria infection in different countries) to estimate malaria incidences. Finally, they used a technique called “joint simulation” to quantify the uncertainty in these estimates. Together, these disease burden estimates gave an estimated global burden of 451 million clinical cases of P. falciparum in 2007. Most of these cases occurred in areas of stable transmission and more than half occurred in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar. Importantly, these four nations alone contributed nearly half of the uncertainty in the global incidence estimates.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings are extremely valuable because they provide a global map of malaria cases that should facilitate the implementation and evaluation of malaria control programs. However, the estimate of the global clinical burden of P. falciparum malaria reported here is higher than the WHO estimate of 247 million cases each year that was obtained using surveillance-based methods. The discrepancy between the estimates obtained using the cartographic and the surveillance-based approach is particularly marked for India. The researchers discuss possible reasons for these discrepancies and suggest improvements that could be made to both methods to increase the validity and precision of estimates. Finally, they note that improvements in the national prevalence surveys in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar would greatly reduce the uncertainty associated with their estimate of the global clinical burden of malaria, an observation that should encourage efforts to improve malaria surveillance in these countries.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A PLoS Medicine Health in Action article by Hay and colleagues, a Research Article by Guerra and colleagues, and a Research Article by Hay and colleagues provide further details about the global mapping of malaria risk
Additional national and regional level maps and more information on the global mapping of malaria are available at the Malaria Atlas Project
Information is available from the World Health Organization on malaria (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the Roll Back Malaria Partnership on its approach to the global control of malaria (in English and French)
MedlinePlus provides links to additional information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2885984  PMID: 20563310
19.  Benefits and constraints of intimate partnerships for HIV positive sex workers in Kibera, Kenya 
Research on the intimate partnerships of female sex workers (FSWs) tends to focus on the risks associated with these relationships. This paper takes as its starting point that the situation of FSWs is better understood by including knowledge of the benefits of their intimate partnerships. Specifically, we employ the conceptual framework provided by emergent research examining intimacy as a complex fusion of affective and instrumental dimensions among sex workers. This perspective allows us to frame information about FSWs’ intimate partnerships within a behaviour-structural approach that is helpful for identifying how intimate partnerships can be a source of both benefit as well as increased risk to FSWs.
Our results are based on a mixed-methods study carried out in the summer of 2011 in Kibera, Kenya. We conducted face-to-face interviews (n=30) with a non-probability sample of FSWs stratified by age who self-identified as Human Immune Virus positive (HIV+). We asked about participants’ involvement in current and past intimate partnerships, and whether these relationships had a positive or negative impact on their health and well‒being.
Participants currently in intimate partnerships had fewer clients and thus lower incomes than those without intimate partnerships. Participants presently with partners were also more likely to receive some financial support from partners, to report lower intimate partner violence, and to narrate higher partner emotional support and greater assistance with medications. These participants were also more likely to have disclosed their sex work and HIV+ statuses to their partners. Intimate partnerships, on the other hand, showed increased risk of economic vulnerability and emotional dependence for FSWs. This became especially problematic for those participants in fragile relationships. Despite these variations, none of the differences between the two groups were statistically significant.
Intimacy and transactional relations are bound up with one another and intersect with the structural realities and vulnerabilities; this is the case for sex workers in well-resourced and resourced-constrained countries alike. Rather than treating intimate partnerships as distinct from transactional relationships, FSWs’ relationships should be viewed on a continuum of risk and support.
PMCID: PMC3766681  PMID: 24006868
Intimate partnerships; Female sex workers; HIV; Resource-constrained countries; Empowerment approach; Kenya
20.  Partnership disengagement from primary community care networks (PCCNs): A qualitative study for a national demonstration project 
The Primary Community Care Network (PCCN) Demonstration Project, launched by the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) in 2003, is still in progress. Partnership structures in PCCNs represent both contractual clinic-to-clinic and clinic-to-hospital member relationships of organizational aspects. The partnership structures are the formal relationships between individuals and the total network. Their organizational design aims to ensure effective communication, coordination, and integration across the total network. Previous studies have focused largely on how contractual integration among the partnerships works and on its effects. Few studies, however, have tried to understand partnership disengagement in PCCNs. This study explores why some partnerships in PCCNs disengage.
This study used a qualitative methodology with semi-structured questions for in-depth interviews. The semi-structured questions were pre-designed to explore the factors driving partnership disengagement. Thirty-seven clinic members who had withdrawn from their PCCNs were identified from the 2003-2005 Taiwan Primary Community Care Network Lists.
Organization/participant factors (extra working time spend and facility competency), network factors (partner collaboration), and community factors (health policy design incompatibility, patient-physician relationship, and effectiveness) are reasons for clinic physicians to withdraw or change their partnerships within the PCCNs.
To strengthen partnership relationships, several suggestions are made, including to establish clinic and hospital member relationships, and to reduce administrative work. In addition, both educating the public about the concept of family doctors and ensuring well-organized national health policies could help health care providers improve the integration processes.
PMCID: PMC2867964  PMID: 20359369
21.  Challenges and Facilitating Factors in Sustaining Community-Based Participatory Research Partnerships: Lessons Learned from the Detroit, New York City and Seattle Urban Research Centers 
In order to address the social, physical and economic determinants of urban health, researchers, public health practitioners, and community members have turned to more comprehensive and participatory approaches to research and interventions. One such approach, community-based participatory research (CBPR) in public health, has received considerable attention over the past decade, and numerous publications have described theoretical underpinnings, values, principles and practice. Issues related to the long-term sustainability of partnerships and activities have received limited attention. The purpose of this article is to examine the experiences and lessons learned from three Urban Research Centers (URCs) in Detroit, New York City, and Seattle, which were initially established in 1995 with core support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The experience of these Centers after core funding ceased in 2003 provides a case study to identify the challenges and facilitating factors for sustaining partnerships. We examine three broad dimensions of CBPR partnerships that we consider important for sustainability: (1) sustaining relationships and commitments among the partners involved; (2) sustaining the knowledge, capacity and values generated from the partnership; and (3) sustaining funding, staff, programs, policy changes and the partnership itself. We discuss the challenges faced by the URCs in sustaining these dimensions and the strategies used to overcome these challenges. Based on these experiences, we offer recommendations for: strategies that partnerships may find useful in sustaining their CBPR efforts; ways in which a Center mechanism can be useful for promoting sustainability; and considerations for funders of CBPR to increase sustainability.
PMCID: PMC3261295  PMID: 17139552
Community-based participatory research; Sustainability; Urban;  Community partnerships
22.  Community Size as a Factor in Health Partnerships in Community Parks and Recreation, 2007 
Although partnerships between park and recreation agencies and health agencies are prevalent, little research has examined partnership characteristics and effectiveness among communities of different sizes. The objective of this study was to determine whether park and recreation leaders’ perceptions of partnership characteristics, effectiveness, and outcomes vary by community size.
A web-based survey was completed in 2007 by 1,217 National Recreation and Park Association members. Community size was divided into 4 categories: very small, small, medium, and large. Questions measured agencies’ recognition of the need for partnerships, their level of experience, and the effectiveness and outcomes of partnerships.
Larger communities were significantly more likely to recognize the need for and have more experience with partnerships than smaller communities. Very small and large communities partnered significantly more often with senior services, nonprofit health promotion agencies, and public health agencies than did small and medium ones. Large and small communities were significantly more likely than very small and medium communities to agree that their decision making in partnerships is inclusive and that they have clearly defined goals and objectives. Large communities were significantly more likely than very small communities to report that their partnership helped leverage resources, make policy changes, meet their mission statement, and link to funding opportunities.
Community size shapes partnership practices, effectiveness, and outcomes. Very small communities are disadvantaged in developing and managing health partnerships. Increasing education, training, and funding opportunities for small and rural park and recreation agencies may enable them to more effectively partner with organizations to address community health concerns.
PMCID: PMC3725847  PMID: 23886043
23.  EDCTP regional networks of excellence: initial merits for planned clinical trials in Africa 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:258.
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and combating hotspots with escalating but preventable communicable diseases remain major challenges in Africa. The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) intervened to combat poverty-related diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and to conduct multi-centre clinical trials and multi-disciplinary health research through an innovative model of regional Networks of Excellence (NoEs).
We participated in a quasi-formative evaluation between October and December 2011 on the 4 regional-led research networks. These included the: Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM); East African Consortium for Clinical Research (EACCR); West African Network of Excellence for TB, AIDS and Malaria (WANETAM), and the Trials of Excellence for Southern Africa (TESA) launched between 2009 and 2010. We shared a participatory appraisal of field reports, progress reports and presentations from each network to jointly outline the initial experiences of the merits, outputs and lessons learnt.
The self-regulating democratic networks, with 64 institutions in 21 African countries, have trained over 1, 000 African scientists, upgraded 36 sites for clinical trials, leveraged additional € 24 million and generated 38 peer-reviewed publications through networking and partnerships.
The shared initial merits and lessons learnt portray in part the strengthened capacity of these networks for improved research coordination and conduct of planned multi-center clinical trials in Africa. Increased funding by African agencies, governments and international health partners will ensure sustainability of these networks for research capacity development and demonstrate their commitment to achieving the MDGs in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3623728  PMID: 23517572
Regional networks; Health; Clinical trials; Research; Capacity-building; Africa
24.  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
25.  Public-private partnerships to build human capacity in low income countries: findings from the Pfizer program 
The ability of health organizations in developing countries to expand access to quality services depends in large part on organizational and human capacity. Capacity building includes professional development of staff, as well as efforts to create working environments conducive to high levels of performance. The current study evaluated an approach to public-private partnership where corporate volunteers give technical assistance to improve organizational and staff performance. From 2003 to 2005, the Pfizer Global Health Fellows program sent 72 employees to work with organizations in 19 countries. This evaluation was designed to assess program impact.
The researchers administered a survey to 60 Fellows and 48 Pfizer Supervisors. In addition, the team conducted over 100 interviews with partner organization staff and other key informants during site visits in Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and India, the five countries where 60% of Fellows were placed.
Over three-quarters of Fellowships appear to have imparted skills or enhanced operations of NGOs in HIV/AIDS and other health programs. Overall, 79% of Fellows reported meeting all or most technical assistance goals. Partner organization staff reported that the Fellows provided training to clinical and research personnel; strengthened laboratory, pharmacy, financial control, and human resource management systems; and helped expand Partner organization networks. Local staff also reported the Program changed their work habits and attitudes. The evaluation identified problems in defining goals of Fellowships and matching Organizations with Fellows. Capacity building success also appears related to size and sophistication of partner organization.
Public expectations have grown regarding the role corporations should play in improving health systems in developing countries. Corporate philanthropy programs based on "donations" of personnel can help build the organizational and human capacity of frontline agencies delivering health services. More attention is needed to measure and compare outcomes of international volunteering programs, and to identify appropriate strategies for expansion.
PMCID: PMC1820602  PMID: 17335578

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