Cultivating capacity: Outcomes of a statewide support system for prevention coalitions

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Although community coalitions are an increasingly popular mechanism for attempting to change community-wide health, the empirical evidence has been mixed at best. Technical Assistance (TA) efforts have emerged in greater scale in hopes of improving both programming quality as well as the coalition structures supporting such programs. However, this commitment to TA interventions has outstripped our knowledge of optimal ways to deliver such assistance, and its limitations. This study takes advantage of results from a state-wide technical assistance project that generated longitudinal data on 41 health-oriented coalitions. The following questions were addressed: What are the circumstances under which coalitions will utilize available assistance? What are the effects of technical assistance on intermediate community outcomes? The results suggested that coalitions with greater initial "capacity" used more TA. Coalitions with low utilization mentioned difficulty in identifying their TA needs as the salient reason for not pursuing these resources. Over time, there were significant positive changes in coalition effectiveness as perceived by key informants, but these were not influenced by amount of TA. © 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community