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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky Researchers Publish on Facilitating Community Health Improvement with NGO Partners

Researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health have published the paper “Facilitating Community Health Improvement Capacity Through Nongovernmental Public Health Partners.” The article by Dr. Angela L. Carman, assistant professor of health, behavior & society, and Ms. Margaret L. McGladrey, assistant dean for research, was published online ahead of print by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

[Photo: Dr. Angela L. Carman (left) and Ms. Margaret L. McGladrey]

The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Facilitating the Community Health Improvement Process training in increasing the capacity of nongovernmental public health partners to serve as facilitators and supporters of community health improvement coalitions. Ten members of WellCare Advocacy and Community-Based Program teams (CommUnity Advocates) serving communities across the country were identied to participate in the pilot training group. They completed pre- and post-training surveys to evaluate knowledge of community health improvement process models and facilitation techniques, as well as qualitative interviews to assess use of training material 6 months after the training. Results of the project revealed successful use of content from the training, which enhanced the impact of nongovernmental public health partners as facilitators of community health improvement planning and implementation.

The study highlights the critical role that WellCare CommUnity Advocates can play in providing back-bone support for community health improvement efforts. CommUnity Advocates utilized skills learned in the training to convene partners and facilitate effective groups. According to one participant, “MCOs need to be a major part of changes that happen on a com- munity level because we’re the ones who are paying for it.” These organizations are committed to sustaining long-term engagement with the communities they serve and can supplement governmental public health capacity as local health department budgets continue contracting.