Roadmap for State Program Planning: Collect Resources and Data

Establish Partnerships

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To begin a Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (HDSP) program, start by getting to know the people and organizations in the state that are potential partners. Before forming a partnership you should consider these questions regarding potential partner organizations:

  • Do the organization’s mission and goals mesh with that of the HDSP program?
  • What interventions are the organizations implementing?
  • Can both programs work to benefit each other?
  • Do the organizations have resources that the HDSP program needs?

Partnerships are an important vehicle to bring together a diversity of skills and resources for more effective health promotion and disease prevention outcomes. Partnerships can increase the efficiency of the health and community service system by making the best use of different but complementary resources. Collaborations, joint advocacy, and action can also have a bigger impact on policymakers and government (from The Partnerships Analysis Tool).

Potential Partnerships

Promoting cardiovascular health requires the cooperation and collaboration of many partners in the public and private sectors. It is important to secure the involvement of diverse partners and provide leadership in carrying out activities with partners. Coordinate activities to avoid duplication of effort and share responsibility for improving cardiovascular health.

Internal partnerships with state health department programs should address—

  • HDS-related risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Related areas, such as health care, quality assurance, emergency medical services, etc.
  • General and priority populations.
  • Data (e.g., vital statistics, the state’s BRFSS, Medicaid).

External partnerships with the following types of organizations should be explored—

  • State agencies that address heart disease and stroke (HDS) risk factors—
    • Departments of education.
    • Public safety.
    • Emergency medical services.
  • Organizations whose missions are associated with promoting heart health and reducing heart disease and stroke, such as your state affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA) or the American Stroke Association (ASA).
  • Professional and volunteer organizations interested in improving health and quality of life and eliminating disparities in HDS—
    • Quality improvement organizations.
    • Minority health organizations.
    • Health care organizations.
    • Business groups or worksite coalitions.
  • Media
  • Academic institutions and Prevention Research Centers

What to Do

Before approaching potential partners, consider—

  • Market your program.
  • Do your homework on potential partners.
  • Share the burden.
  • Build an organizational support system.

How to Do It

The following was adapted from materials developed by Campaign Consultation, Inc., for the ASK to Sustain Institute in San Diego, California, October 2003.

  1. Market the program.
    • Develop marketing/informational materials to be given to prospective partners.
    • Always carry business cards to distribute to potential partners.
    • Introduce yourself to prospective partners. Make at least one new contact a month.
    • Spread the word about the program through meetings, press releases, and community events.
    • Network places to consider include—
      • Civic groups.
      • Associations and business groups: Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Associations, Human Resources groups, professional organizations, network marketing groups.
      • Neighborhood associations.
      • Press conferences.
      • New business open houses.
  2. Research your potential partners.
    • Identify current policies, environments, and political realities.
    • Identify common ground by asking questions that uncover the needs of a potential partner.
    • Learn about your potential partner’s programs and initiatives.
    • Learn what they think works and what does not.
    • Find out how they know it works (evaluation).
  3. Share the burden.
    • Try to obtain burden data that potential partners might possess.
    • Share your burden data with potential partners.
    • Educate potential partners on the HDS burden and its impact on the state.
  4. Build an organizational support system.
    • Form alliances to use resources more efficiently.
    • Join associations, civic and business groups and attend meetings whenever possible.
    • Always ask for a business card when talking with a potential partner and enter name into a database or file system for quick reference.

How to Build and Maintain a Successful Partnership

It takes time and skill to create successful partnerships. Partnerships are not just between people but also between their organizations. Decisions made between partners often need to carry over as a person’s tenure at an organization ends and a new person comes into a position. Important steps to build successful partnerships include—

  • Obtain buy-in to build commitment.
  • Identify overlapping interests.
  • Clarify or reaffirm vision and mission.
  • Create community ownership of partnership.
  • Solidify the partnership structure and processes.
  • Recruit and retain an active diverse membership.
  • Develop collaborative leaders.
  • Market your partnership.
  • Be flexible and creative.

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