- Define Community
- Identify key individuals and organizations
- Design strategy for engaging partners
- Define useful roles for partners
- Develop accountability and evaluation plans
- Develop communication strategies
- Reassess and evaluate partner involvement and statisfaction in plan development
"Communities Working Together for a Healthier New York" (Acrobat pdf file size 898 MB, 88 pages)identifies "communities" to be in New York Counties. Definitions of community should be grounded in locally-meaningful realities.
- policymakers, including elected officials
- private businesses
- Grass roots groups with capacity to address health objectives
- public organizations
- not-for-profit organizations
- Health care professionals
- Leaders in the faith community
Identify key individuals and organizations
Strive for broad representation. Identify individual and organizations who look at problems and solutions differently. Look for partners who have a stake in health communities; partners who can contribute human resources, influence community, and help achieve objectives.
Design strategy for engaging partners
Find creative and flexible ways to engage partners and community members. Consider rotating meeting places and times to accommodate different schedules and give participants a chance to see other communities. Offer meeting options that accommodate different preferences and levels of comfort with groups, such as informal discussions, conference calls, anonymous surveys, provider forums, focus groups, independent work groups, and kick-off events with kiosks or small break-out groups.
Define useful roles for partners
Confirm committments, in writing where possible. Involve partners in setting priorities. Give credit to partners. Accept that some partners will have different levels of commitment. Some useful roles for partners may include;
- Link and consult with other community organizations or partnerships.
- Lead community initiatives or workgroups.
- Facilitate community input through meetings, events, and policy development.
- Provide technical assistance and guidance fro program planning and policy development.
- Collect and analyze data; conduct literature reviews, research or assessments.
- Develop and present education and training programs.
- Educate elected officiials and policy makers on health issues.
- Provide in-kind resources such as staff, meeting rooms
- Monitor/analyze related legislation.
- Provide long-term support to sustain health initiatives.
Develop accountability and evaluation plans
Include identification of specific persons or groups of people responsible for each item with dates by which the tasks must be accomplished. Provide a continual feedback mechanism and consider all feedback received. Report back to partners how comments were addressed.
Develop communication strategies
Be clear about the purpose and desired results of meetings. Choose an effective facilitator. Show respect for other people's time. Besides meeting minutes and informal discussion, some formal communication vehicles used by partnerships are letters, newslettter, electronic communication tools such as listservs and websites.
Reassess and evaluate partner involvement and satisfaction in plan development
Assess partner contributions and gaps periodically during the process. Examine how parts of the plan did, and did not lead to action. Be candid with partners to establish trust and share responsibilities for improvement.